Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lib Dems move to distance themselves from Tories on welfare

From the Guardian website this morning:
The Liberal Democrats will pledge in their general election manifesto to introduce a new "yellow card" system to give job seekers who break benefit rules a final warning before sanctions are imposed. 
Amid Lib Dem concerns at a dramatic increase in sanctions in recent years, the party will say that benefit recipients should be given "fair warning" before they forfeit their benefits. 
In another sign of their determination to differentiate themselves from their Tory coalition partners, the Lib Dems will say the system needs to be reformed after a trebling in sanctions. 
Under the current rules, claimants can lose four weeks of benefit for something as simple as missing one appointment at a JobCentre Plus office.
The report goes on to quote Steve Webb:
"It's absolutely right that when we pay people benefits that there are expectations of them and consequences if they don't meet those expectations.
"But the process needs to be fair and clear. There are too many examples of cases where people have been penalised unfairly."
I am pleased to see this move. The benefits system these days seems less about meeting people's (often temporary) need and than about inculcating them with government-approved values.

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