The government should abolish all existing unemployment benefits in favour of a flat-rate payment, according to an independent thinktank.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims that a single benefit would make the system fairer and harder to defraud.
The charity produced a report urging new work and pensions secretary Peter Hain to scrap jobseeker’s allowance, incapacity benefit, income support and carer’s allowance.
Kate Stanley, head of social policy at the IPPR, said: “The benefits system Peter Hain has inherited is too complex to be effective.
“A single working-age benefit would mean anyone of working age who is out of work would be guaranteed a basic replacement income for 12 weeks. They would not need to have a medical assessment or lengthy means test.”
After 12 weeks, the payment would be means tested, Stanley added. Almost half of those claiming jobseeker’s allowance stop doing so within three months.
Peter Hain is expected to outline plans for benefits reform before the Parliamentary summer break.