Unemployed could have benefits stopped

Unemployed people who refuse help to find work could be stripped of their benefits, work and pensions minister John Hutton said today.

He called for an end to the “cycle of benefit dependency” and said people on benefits with mild mental health or alcohol related problems needed more support to get jobs.

Hutton warned that people’s failure to get involved in programmes that would increase their chances of getting work would have “consequences,” including less benefit or no benefit at all.

“Our welfare reforms must confront head-on the ‘can work – won’t work’ culture in our country and ensure benefit claimants can compete for jobs alongside growing numbers of migrants who arrive in Britain specifically to look for work rather than to settle for the long term,” he said.

Hutton said the proposal would form part of a government review of welfare to work.

In response, Paul Dornan, head of policy at charity Child Poverty Action Group, said there was “little evidence” that benefits sanctions worked.

“If the secretary of state is serious about increasing sanctions it is very worrying as it would put many of the poorest families into even more severe poverty with little likelihood of helping anyone into work,” he added.

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 Maria Ahmed

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