Most people on benefit not required to look for work, says think-tank

Eighty per cent of benefits are distributed without any responsibility on claimants to look for employment, a report out today claims.

Reforming welfare, published by think-tank Reform, says that a decade after the government pledged to turn benefits from a “hand out” to a “hand up” £64bn is given to people without any obligation to find work.

Based on a year-long study, the report adds that over 70 per cent of claimants remain on benefits for more than a year.

It recommends outsourcing welfare provision to the voluntary and private sector, in a model similar to that in Australia and America.

Director of Reform Andrew Haldenby said: “The need for reform is so urgent that the government should give welfare reform a prominent position in next year’s comprehensive spending review.”

Key findings
• Over 71 per cent remain on benefits for longer than a year

• The system is too complicated – in 2005/2006 there were 51 different benefits

• Government spending has not prevented poverty from worsening in parts of the UK – above all Wales, Scotland, the north east and Yorkshire and Humber


• Remove the lowest paid workers from tax

• Simplify the system

• Improve the design of benefit structures


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