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Overhaul the benefits system, says David Cameron

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    Overhaul the benefits system, says David Cameron
    David Cameron is to admit that the welfare system is causing “huge resentment” for hard-working taxpayers as he pledges to target working-age families in a “fundamental” overhaul.

    In a major speech, the Prime Minister will indicate that out-of-work families will not qualify for extra benefits if they have more children and that young unemployed people may be forced to live at home under plans to cut the welfare bill by another £10 billion.

    He will say that unemployment benefit may be “time-limited” and the £26,000 cap on welfare handouts for each household may be further reduced.

    Universal benefits for pensioners such as the winter fuel allowance and television licence will be protected, he will say, despite pressure from Liberal Democrats and Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions secretary, for them to be means-tested.

    In the speech he will say: “We need to think harder about who receives working-age welfare. If it is a real safety net, then clearly it’s principally for people who have no other means of support, or who have fallen on hard times. But there are many receiving today who do not necessarily fall into these camps.

    The time has come to go back to first principles; to have a real national debate and ask some fundamental, searching questions about working-age welfare; what it is actually for; who should receive it; what the limits of state provision should be; and what kind of contribution we should expect from those receiving benefits.”

    Pensioners currently receive benefits worth £107 billion, including the state pension, compared with £54 billion paid to working-age people. Universal benefits, such as the £200 winter fuel allowance, free TV licences and free bus passes cost almost £4 billion annually – almost equal to the budget for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

    However, the Prime Minister is understood to have ruled out cutting the benefits in the next spending review, which will set Government spending between 2014 and 2017.

    Sources believe it is highly unlikely that Mr Cameron would sanction any means-testing or scrapping of these benefits while he remains in office.

    In today’s speech he will say: “There is a debate about some of the extra benefits that pensioners can receive – and whether they should be means-tested. On this I want to be very clear: two years ago I made a promise to the elderly of this country and I am keeping it. I was elected on a mandate to protect those benefits – so that is what we have done.”

    Instead, Mr Cameron wants to draw up a new round of cuts to the welfare paid to those who could work.

    The Prime Minister will suggest that the entire welfare system should be redesigned to remove incentives for people claiming benefits to have more children.

    “Quite simply, we have been encouraging working-age people to have children and not work, when we should be enabling working-age people to work and have children,” the Prime Minister will say.

    “So it’s time we asked some serious questions about the signals we send out through the benefits system. Yes, this is difficult territory. But at a time when so many people are struggling, isn't it right that we ask whether those in the welfare system are faced with the same kinds of decisions that working people have to wrestle with when they have a child?"

    Mr Cameron will highlight official statistics showing that more than 150,000 people claiming income support for more than a year have three or more children.

    He will warn that working people "have to think very carefully about whether they can afford to have children" but the unemployed are encouraged financially to have bigger families. The Government is expected to propose limiting child benefit and other handouts so that it is only paid for the first three children.

    The Prime Minister will also indicate that he is considering introducing a time limit for unemployment benefits.
    The Conservatives previously considered introducing a maximum of, for example, two years for claiming unemployment benefits. He will today also suggest that benefits should be made conditional on people taking more active steps to find work.

    The Prime Minister believes the root–and–branch reforms are necessary to tackle what he describes as the "welfare gap" which is fostering tension in society.

    He will say the gap is "between those living long–term in the welfare system and those outside it. Those within it grow up with a series of expectations: you can have a home of your own, the state will support you whatever decisions you make, you will always be able to take out no matter what you put in."

    Mr Cameron will warn that it now "pays not to work" and will describe the "culture of entitlement" that has meant welfare claimants believe they are entitled to "something for nothing" and "has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system".

    The speech is the latest in a series of traditional Conservative policy announcements designed to shore up Mr Cameron's position after a series of mistakes in the spring over the Budget and party donations.

    However, many of the policies are expected to be blocked by the Liberal Democrats and the Prime Minister makes clear that some of the measures are intended for the next Conservative manifesto in 2015.

    Labour accused Mr Cameron of "hazy and half–baked" thinking.
    Can we have more open and soul-searching discussions please...... how about one on EU membership, how about the useless economic stats which you keep blaming on EU, what about that acute housing crisis and the mess the NHS is in.

    Personally while I think some kinds of welfare reform is more than necessary I don't think the way to go about it is by alienating one group and leaving one group unscathed especially if they are your traditional core voters, in a democracy you are supposed to be a PM and government for all not just the majority that voted you into power (which you don't have anyway).
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    We know too well that this Tory government has a propaganda agenda playing up to an alleged hysteria regarding the issue of benefit claimants. There is here an element of scapegoatism for the justification of austerity measures aimed at the populace. In my view, on the whole, there is little wrong with the benefits system. There are other areas in modern life that need a overhaul, and a good place to start would be Westminster.
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    Nothing we don't already know, then.
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    I read in my local paper about food banks popping up.Seems that due to job cuts/wage cuts/benefit cuts people are finding it harder and harder to afford basic foods these days.There was even an article in same said paper about pregnant women going without food because they couldnt afford it.
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    (Original post by Martyn*)
    We know too well that this Tory government has a propaganda agenda playing up to an alleged hysteria regarding the issue of benefit claimants. There is here an element of scapegoatism for the justification of austerity measures aimed at the populace. In my view, on the whole, there is little wrong with the benefits system. There are other areas in modern life that need a overhaul, and a good place to start would be Westminster.
    Yes,what Cameron doesn't seem to realise or is hiding from the public,to seem more politically correct is that all jobs are filled/gone within a few days,which means that there will always be the same unemployed,whether or not they try to work or not and that there is so little jobs,that some people who are dumb and struggle in job applications will not get jobs and encouraging people to go into jobs will still leave,the same amount unemployed because at the moment,there are no jobs that need filling that aren't took in a couple of days,the government has to support the people,who it can't provide jobs for and I'm sick of the Tories thinking about the rich,who already have enough money and waste loads and unemployed parents are able to look after their children up with a lack of parenting,if their parents are at work all the time.
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    The Prime Minister will also indicate that he is considering introducing a time limit for unemployment benefits. The Conservatives previously considered introducing a maximum of, for example, two years for claiming unemployment benefits. He will today also suggest that benefits should be made conditional on people taking more active steps to find work.
    And live on what after, exactly?
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    Of course, this is coming from the PM who despite being a millionaire decided to claim benefits for his disabled son.
    Now, I don't blame him. But surely that very fact is one of the biggest issues with the benefits system? That people who don't need the money in any way, shape or form can claim?

    Disability benefits should only be paid in either of three circumstances:
    1 - Where the person's disability means they cannot work.
    2 - Where the persons disability means the person / family having to spend a lot of money on care / adaptions etc etc that they would not be able to afford, so they can have a decent quality of life.
    3 - Where the persons disability means someone becomes an unpaid carer for them.

    Surely someone who is a millionaire should not need to claim benefits?
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    (Original post by WelshBluebird)
    Of course, this is coming from the PM who despite being a millionaire decided to claim benefits for his disabled son.
    Now, I don't blame him. But surely that very fact is one of the biggest issues with the benefits system? That people who don't need the money in any way, shape or form can claim?

    Disability benefits should only be paid in either of three circumstances:
    1 - Where the person's disability means they cannot work.
    2 - Where the persons disability means the person / family having to spend a lot of money on care / adaptions etc etc that they would not be able to afford, so they can have a decent quality of life.
    3 - Where the persons disability means someone becomes an unpaid carer for them.

    Surely someone who is a millionaire should not need to claim benefits?
    I find it a bit odd that the changes are only happening after his son died. Coincidence? I think not.

    As for #2 - apparently, it would be more expensive to do it that way. I have extra costs due to being disabled. My brother doesn't. He gets more than me. That can't be right.:mad: He just spends his on games and I have to save to buy the things that I constantly need to replace.

    The problem with making it means tested, is that in some areas, you must get the higher rate mobility for a blue badge if your only disability is that you're unable to walk.
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    Overthrow David Cameron, says everyone ever.

    I agree that the benefit system needs reform, I just don't think career politicians are the ones to do it. especially ones who wouldn't know what working class was if it came up and bit them on the arse.
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    Just the Tories trying to pass the blame for the crap economy and scrap economic policies onto poor and disabled people.

    If Tory policies worked, there would be more jobs and more people in work and fewer people who are out of work and under employed claiming benefits.

    At the end of the day, unemployment is caused by lack of jobs, not lack of people wanting work. Just ask any graduate trying to get on the employment ladder working for free or serving drinks in a pub for minimum wages.
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    How about he focuses on creating jobs first? What's the point in cutting benefits if there are no jobs for people? Or that it is too expensive to get to a job with travel expenses etc- and it would be cheaper to remain on benefit? Perhaps he should focus on creating jobs and raising minimum wage?
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    It needs to be done but the Lib Dems will do their best to block it. That's the Lib Dem way, get on the wrong side of every argument.
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    He didn't seem to have any qualms with the benefits system when he claimed them for his son - and he vowed to support carers more when he was a carer for his son too.

    Funnily enough, after his son died (don't get me wrong, I have all the sympathy in the world for his family surrounding that particular event), he doesn't give a toss about carers and has criticized benefits to the point where, if he could get away with it, I've no doubt he'd happily scrap it altogether!
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    (Original post by WelshBluebird)
    Of course, this is coming from the PM who despite being a millionaire decided to claim benefits for his disabled son.
    Now, I don't blame him. But surely that very fact is one of the biggest issues with the benefits system? That people who don't need the money in any way, shape or form can claim?

    Disability benefits should only be paid in either of three circumstances:
    1 - Where the person's disability means they cannot work.
    2 - Where the persons disability means the person / family having to spend a lot of money on care / adaptions etc etc that they would not be able to afford, so they can have a decent quality of life.
    3 - Where the persons disability means someone becomes an unpaid carer for them.

    Surely someone who is a millionaire should not need to claim benefits?
    The benefits system has lost its way because there are three different bases of entitlement but the organising principle for what basis of entitlement should apply to which benefit has got lost:-

    1 Contribution
    2 Need
    3 Universality

    Personality I think, and in this post you also come close to this, that DLA has been the most corrupting benefit that has largely produced the benefits landscape we have today. As it is for "the disabled" governments have been very reluctant to tackle it but you will not find many examples of long-term or intergenerational poverty where DLA is not being paid to at least one member of the family. I think the penny is starting to drop that the disability isn't the cause of the poverty. Rather it is the receipt of the disability benefits package led by DLA.

    The problem is that it is paid without reference to the additional costs of disability and as it does not reduce other benefits, it operates as an income supplement. When people say how can someone live on Income Support levels, the answer of course is that they don't. It is DLA (together with the related IS disability premiums and Carers Allowance) that makes living on benefits in the long term bearable and it is the risk to these benefits that deters many from taking steps to get off benefits.

    To say that anyone who can only walk approx 50 metres has higher living costs than someone who can walk 300 metres is fanciful. To say that a 70 year old (with a bus pass) should get Mobility if they started claiming at 64 but not get Mobility is they started claiming at 65 is nonsense.

    What are the additional travel costs of someone who can't go out unless they are accompanied by someone else? Professional dog walkers don't have a second income as professional agoraphobic walkers.

    Why should someone who lives on frozen pizza and oven chips get money if they can't cook a three course traditional meal from raw ingredients but not get money if they can?

    What are the additional costs involved in waking your spouse to be taken to the loo twice a night?

    Furthermore it can seen in the numbers. There are 3.1M DLA claimants. That is 1 in 20 of the entire population. I know the disabled are invisible but I don't accept that 1 in 20 of the population became disabled before the age of 65 (over 65s can't be new DLA claimants).

    A fascinating stat would be the number of 15 year olds for whom DLA is paid who don't make a personal claim at age 16. ADHD has a remarkable recovery rate on a 16th birthday.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    To say that anyone who can only walk approx 50 metres has higher living costs than someone who can walk 300 metres is fanciful.
    You are aware that the person who can only walk 50 meters would have to pay for their wheelchair, right? They may also need to live in an adapted house.

    What are the additional travel costs of someone who can't go out unless they are accompanied by someone else?
    Er, paying someone to come with them?:rolleyes: Or taxis. I need someone with me when out. My DLA pays for taxis.

    Furthermore it can seen in the numbers. There are 3.1M DLA claimants. That is 1 in 20 of the entire population. I know the disabled are invisible but I don't accept that 1 in 20 of the population became disabled before the age of 65 (over 65s can't be new DLA claimants).
    But people over 65 can claim DLA if they received it before they turned 65.

    A fascinating stat would be the number of 15 year olds for whom DLA is paid who don't make a personal claim at age 16. ADHD has a remarkable recovery rate on a 16th birthday.
    When someone reaches 16, they'd be expected to do things that someone at 15 can't do. The criteria changes at 16.

    Your ignorance is astounding. I receive DLA due to being born with a brain condition, which has caused numerous other disabilities.

    People on DLA aren't better off than non-disabled people. Some peoples' DLA is taken in full by social services. At the moment, I'm saving up to by equipment I need to help me communicate. That equipment is around £2-4k.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    You are aware that the person who can only walk 50 meters would have to pay for their wheelchair, right? They may also need to live in an adapted house.
    Very few recipients of the higher rate of the Mobility Component are wheelchair users.



    Er, paying someone to come with them?:rolleyes: Or taxis. I need someone with me when out. My DLA pays for taxis.
    I accept that someone who was paying someone to accompany them has an additional expense. What proportion of lower rate mobility claimants do so do you think? 1%, 5%?

    I do not see the connection between a need for a taxi and the need to be accompanied? As far as I can see, the need for a taxi arises from not having a car, the unavailability of public transport or the inability to use public transport. It has nothing to do with whether you have someone else with you.


    But people over 65 can claim DLA if they received it before they turned 65.
    I made that point and don't you regard it as bizarre that two people with the same needs are treated differently depending on when those needs first arose?

    When someone reaches 16, they'd be expected to do things that someone at 15 can't do. The criteria changes at 16.
    The criteria become more generous at 16. The cooking test becomes operational and a restriction relating to what non-disabled children could do disappears. There is nothing that makes it more difficult for a 16 year old than a 15 year old to claim.


    Your ignorance is astounding. I receive DLA due to being born with a brain condition, which has caused numerous other disabilities.



    People on DLA aren't better off than non-disabled people. Some peoples' DLA is taken in full by social services. At the moment, I'm saving up to by equipment I need to help me communicate. That equipment is around £2-4k.
    I am afraid you do not represent the majority of the 3.1 million in receipt of this poorly targeted benefit.

    One hopes, but at the moment I am not very optimistic, that Personal Independence Payment is better targeted.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Very few recipients of the higher rate of the Mobility Component are wheelchair users.
    Evidence? You don't need to be a wheelchair user to receive the higher mobility. You can be blind (only 1 in 6 registered blind qualify) deafblind, have a disability which affects your ability to walk, the act of walking would seriously endanger your health or receive the higher rate care of DLA and be classed as severely mentally impaired. I used to know someone who claimed the higher mobility rate because he has a disability which affects his ability to walk. He used walking sticks to get around.

    I do not see the connection between a need for a taxi and the need to be accompanied? As far as I can see, the need for a taxi arises from not having a car, the unavailability of public transport or the inability to use public transport. It has nothing to do with whether you have someone else with you.
    The criteria for lower mobility is due to disability, you need someone to accompany you in unfamiliar places. Many people use their DLA for taxis; as they have no-one to accompany them and /or the lack of public transport. If you need to be accompanied and use public transport, you'll have to pay for this persons' transport costs.

    I am afraid you do not represent the majority of the 3.1 million in receipt of this poorly targeted benefit.
    I never said I did?

    One hopes, but at the moment I am not very optimistic, that Personal Independence Payment is better targeted.
    Can you tell that to the half a million who will lose their money under this new benefit? I have a friend whose daughter has an undiagnosed condition which means she faints. She needs supervision to ensure she's safe. She'll probably lose her money under the benefit because her needs are mostly supervision based. Her needs won't change. She'll still need supervision.

    I know someone else who will lose all her money under the new benefit. She has osteogenesis imperfecta, which means her bones break easily, therefore, requiring supervision and is unable to walk as a result.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    Evidence? You don't need to be a wheelchair user to receive the higher mobility. You can be blind (only 1 in 6 registered blind qualify) deafblind, have a disability which affects your ability to walk, the act of walking would seriously endanger your health or receive the higher rate care of DLA and be classed as severely mentally impaired. I used to know someone who claimed the higher mobility rate because he has a disability which affects his ability to walk. He used walking sticks to get around.
    I said:-

    To say that anyone who can only walk approx 50 metres has higher living costs than someone who can walk 300 metres is fanciful.
    You said:-

    You are aware that the person who can only walk 50 meters would have to pay for their wheelchair, right?
    I said:-

    Very few recipients of the higher rate of the Mobility Component are wheelchair users.
    You have now said:

    You don't need to be a wheelchair user to receive the higher mobility.
    You specifically raised a point about wheelchairs. I have answered it and now you wish to shift your ground.


    There are estimated to be just under 400,000 wheelchair users in the UK aged under 60. That isn;t a figure for people who are confined to a wheelchair. http://www.papworth.org.uk/downloads...0202152740.pdf


    There are just over 800000 recipients of the higher rate of the Mobility Component aged under 60.



    The criteria for lower mobility is due to disability, you need someone to accompany you in unfamiliar places. Many people use their DLA for taxis; as they have no-one to accompany them and /or the lack of public transport. If you need to be accompanied and use public transport, you'll have to pay for this persons' transport costs.
    No, that is not the criteria for lower rate mobility. The criteria are:

    he is able to walk but is so severely disabled physically or mentally that, disregarding any ability he may have to use routes which are familiar to him on his own, he cannot take advantage of the faculty out of doors without guidance or supervision from another person most of the time.
    The test is about the need to be accompanied whilst walking to unfamiliar places not the need to be accompanied whilst travelling by taxi to unfamiliar places.


    I never said I did?
    You didn't but when you use yourself as an example then impliedly you assert that you are a valid example.



    Can you tell that to the half a million who will lose their money under this new benefit?
    The government and the previous government have done a better job than me.

    I have a friend whose daughter has an undiagnosed condition which means she faints. She needs supervision to ensure she's safe.
    Why?

    There are plenty of grand mal epileptics who spend many hours alone.

    What is the person in constant attendance actually doing to ensure she is safe. Will she stop her fainting? Will she catch her before she hits the floor?

    Effectively the only thing she can do is intervene in a case where the daughter falls and injures herself so badly that (a) she cannot take steps by means of a medical alert alarm or mobile phone to seek help but (b) her condition is neither terminal nor self-limiting. What is the probably of such event happening to her compared with a similar event to a non-disabled member of the public? That difference in risk is what the carer is there for. Is that difference in risk significant enough to justify constant attendance? Without the full facts, I don't know. However, in very few cases will that risk be high enough to justify full waking constant attendance.


    She'll probably lose her money under the benefit because her needs are mostly supervision based. Her needs won't change. She'll still need supervision.
    I know someone else who will lose all her money under the new benefit. She has osteogenesis imperfecta, which means her bones break easily, therefore, requiring supervision and is unable to walk as a result.
    Why does she need supervision because her bones break easily? Wouldn't a mobile phone to call an ambulance be of more use?
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    What is the person in constant attendance actually doing to ensure she is safe. Will she stop her fainting? Will she catch her before she hits the floor?
    My dad has epilepsy. Before he was diagnosed, he had a seizure. Just before he had his seizure, he was about to pick up a kettle of freshly boiled water. He could have seriously injured himself. During his seizure, he needed someone to ensure that he was somewhere safe and was unable to injure himself and others around him. If I remember correctly, he also managed to fall down a flight of stairs, give himself concussion and tried getting up and had to have someone pin him down to stop him getting up.

    No, having someone around won't stop her fainting. It will mean that someone can ensure she's safe. Some people (I've done this) also vomit (choking on one's own vomit can kill) or become incontinent during seizures. Some of us can also seriously injure ourselves during seizures. I've got a head injury as a result. (I fell on my head once whilst having a seizure) As a result of the head injury, I forget words and have memory problems. That isn't unusual.

    What is the probably of such event happening to her compared with a similar event to a non-disabled member of the public?
    She has seizures regularly and if I remember correctly, no medication works. (not unusual) She will have seizures. Your non-disabled member of public probably won't. Unless they're either a baby with a high temperature or someone with undiagnosed seizures.

    Why does she need supervision because her bones break easily? Wouldn't a mobile phone to call an ambulance be of more use?
    Your ignorance is unbelievable. She can't walk. The bones in her arms and legs are weak.

    And what is she meant to do if she can't get to a phone?

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