5th October 2009
I was pleased to be invited on both BBC Radio 5 Live (with Nicky Campbell) and BBC Radio Newcastle this morning to comment on the Conservative Party proposals on welfare reform, namely moving people off of incapacity related benefits and back into work.
This is an issue that has been building for some time, especially since the introduction of Employment & Support Allowance last October.
On both BBC Radio shows I tried to make it clear that it is actually very difficult for people to claim incapacity related benefits. I also explained that as expert, independent advisors we try to ensure people with genuine health problems and disabilities are able to claim the relevant benefits according to their circumstances and we will always do this, working within the rules and laws that exist.
I do think benefits reform is essential, but I also believe there will always be a fairly complex system due to the complex nature of peoples lives.
What might be just as important for any government looking at welfare reform is re-establishing the message about what the benefits system is there to do. If the message was clear about the purpose of the benefits system, it would in turn promote culture change in the way that people think about and use the benefits system.
A clear message about the use of the system would also help people understand that ultimately, the idea is that you are expected to live and survive financially using working income and pension income (this in an ideal world of course!).
I'm also glad that using independent services to support the use of the benefits system was mentioned as an important issue too - I really believe that this is the way forward and this, of course, is what Income Max is all about.
The issues affecting real people
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