Purnell tells Labour Party welfare reform savings will help needy

Money saved by getting more people off benefits and into work will be given to those in greatest need under Labour’s welfare reforms, work and pensions secretary James Purnell said yesterday.

In his speech to the Labour Party conference, Purnell pledged a “revolution” in the lives of disabled people by giving them control over their own support.

In an attack on the Tory past, he said hundreds of thousands of people were “thrown on the scrap heap” with no help to get back to work in the 1980s. “It is because of those people that we are now reforming the system to help,” he told the conference.

‘Absolute shambles’

Purnell also claimed the “absolute shambles” of the Tories’ social policies were not able to withstand scrutiny.

“As Boris Johnson said, in a rare moment of Tory honesty, David Cameron is talking ‘piffle’ about the broken society,” he said.

Purnell’s call for Tory policy to be “put under the microscope” followed the publication yesterday of a Labour paper on Conservative family policy.

‘Image changed but not beliefs’

The paper argued that the Tories had “changed their image but not their beliefs” and had “avoided difficult policy choices”.

It accused the party of failing to make a pledge on child poverty, seeking instead to “redefine poverty rather than tackle it,” opposing increases in tax credits and the Winter Fuel Allowance for pensioners.

The paper also slammed Tory proposals for inheritance tax cuts which would divert £1bn “to the richest 3,000 estates” in the country and marriage tax breaks.

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