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Welfare welfare welfare – part of the LibDem Fightback

March 30, 2016 11:42 AM
By Dean Crofts in Liberal Democrat Voice

FightbackThe Conservatives are tearing themselves apart and showing their true colours on cuts for the disabled and people on low incomes.

Welfare policy and tax within the Liberal Democrats are the areas WE can define ourselves as a party.

Beveridge, always stated that a welfare system is required to protect people who need protection but must avoid idleness and encourage individuals to take up their responsibilities.

As Liberal Democrats we should adopt a progressive welfare policy which protects those with illness, disability and individuals that need to care for others. As well as supporting those who wish to get back into the field of work.

Support being the key word, not sanction.

As Liberal Democrats let us look at some suggestions:

Scrapping the ESA work capability assessments - setting up a simple system with health professionals to confirm someone's ill health.

Protect disability benefits like we protected the state pension with our triple lock.

Scrap job-seekers allowance - replacing it with a Community Volunteer Allowance, this would help individuals gain skills for work in return for an allowance and housing costs.

Invest in universal credit - with the aim reducing the current red tape and administration costs of our existing 6 benefit (JSA, ESA, HB, CTC, WTC, IS), 3 department system to whom claimants have to currently contact to receive their entitlement ( DWP, HMRC, Local Authority) of legacy benefits.

Means test pensioner benefits - with pensioners paying 40% tax exempt from winter fuel allowance and/or free bus passes - to promote welfare for individuals who need protection.

Lastly, adopt a welfare policy with an economic one, let us link the two.

Capital investment to create high skilled jobs that pay well thus creating more individuals paying tax and less welfare being paid out.

It is now clearly being shown how we held the Tories together in coalition, they can keep tearing themselves apart but WE must be ready to fill the gap when this collapse happens.

* Dean Crofts is secretary of North Bedfordshire Liberal Democrats

John Marriott - Lincoln, Sleaford and North Hykeham

There was nothing wrong in principle with the Spare Room Supplement aka The Bedroom Tax. The idea of getting people to downsize to make larger properties available makes sense. HOWEVER, you have got to have the smaller properties available in sufficient numbers and in the same locality if possible to make it work. Anyone with a basic knowledge of local government could have told the bright so and so's at Westminster that these kinds of properties were as rare as rocking horse s……! Did they and, if they did, did anybody listen?

It wouldn't be the first time that mistakes have been made as most MPs have no idea how local government works. Do they know that many councils have allowed Housing Associations to take over and run their social housing stock? So, how can they be forced to sell off property which is no longer theirs let alone build a new one with the proceeds? It's time that national politicians did their homework. And then there's the ignorance of how LEAs work………

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