Stage 1 of the welfare reforms

The Goverment has announced they will legislate the following this year:

 

  1. Ensuring sole parents with children five and older are available for and supported into part-time work.
  2. Ensuring sole parents with children 14 and older are available for and supported into full-time work.
  3. Extending these work expectations to women receiving the Widow’s and Women Alone benefits and to partners of beneficiaries with children.
  4. Enabling Work and Income to direct people to prepare for work early.
  5. Requiring sole parents who have another child while on a benefit to be available for work after one year, in line with parental leave.
  6. A managed system of payments with essential costs like rent and power paid directly, with an allowance and a payment card for living costs.
  7. Youth Service Providers incentivised to help young people into work, education or training. Young people encouraged to undertake budgeting and parenting courses.
  8. Guaranteed Childcare Assistance Payment, so childcare costs do not stop young parents from studying.
  9. Sharing information between ministries to target school leavers most at risk of coming onto a benefit from age 18.
I think these changes are well overdue. I note almost no other party is attacking the changes per se, but arguing against the timing saying there are not jobs for people to go into.
First of all in the last 12 months, 35,000 new jobs were created, so the job market is not static.
But more importantly having those on welfare move into work, actually creates jobs in itself. Moving into work increases the household income, and this leads to higher levels of spending which boosts GDP and jobs. Also the number of jobs in childcare increases, as more families on welfare use childcare so one or more parents is earning. I’m not sure how big the flow on impact is, but there is an impact. So politicians who say don’t do because there we have unemployment (which we have had for 30 years or so) are actually against welfare reform but just too scared to say so.

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