Welfare reform plans expected to be unveiled today

The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, will today pledge to introduce a raft of welfare reforms that will remove the barriers that stop millions moving from welfare to work.

Under the proposals, which will make benefits more conditional on willingness to work, the minister aims to tackle a “culture of dependency” by addressing the root causes of poverty.

At present the rewards for choosing to work are “very minimal” or “even none at all”, he told the Guardian, while people who take jobs are viewed as morons.

The minister is seeking to merge 52 separate benefits into a single payment and has asked his officials to investigate, reports the Independent.

According to the BBC, ministers want the long-term unemployed facing the most serious barriers to employment to sign up to work and training programmes immediately, and for those under 25 to get support within six months.

They also want to speed up the assessment of all those on incapacity benefit and move those deemed able to work onto jobseekers’ allowance.

Smith will say: “A system that was originally designed to help support the poorest in society is now trapping them in the very condition it was supposed to alleviate. Instead of helping, a deeply unfair benefits system too often writes people off.

“The proportion of people parked on inactive benefits has almost tripled in the past 30 years to 41% of the inactive working age population. That is a tragedy. We must be here to help people improve their lives – not just park them on long-term benefits.”

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