Welfare reforms will not include benefit freeze after two years out of work

Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain has ruled out a Bill Clinton-style welfare system that stops people’s benefits after two years out of work.

Hain said the government was not prepared to go this far as it reformed the welfare system.

Reforms announced recently include a tougher incapacity benefit test, a requirement on lone parents to return to work quicker, and compulsory training for jobseekers.

But Hain said this week: “The US picture was very complicated. There was a big jobs boom at first but then poverty rose.

“People fell out of benefits into a black hole, so no, that is not the right thing to do. There needs to be support for those who need it.”

But he warned: “Those who wilfully obstruct the route into a job will face sanctions on their benefits.”

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