New publication: A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work

The publication of A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work marks the beginning of what must be a national debate on the future direction of our welfare reforms …

Executive summary 1
Chapter 1: The challenge 13
Chapter 2: Helping ill or disabled people 23
Chapter 3: Helping lone parents 51
Chapter 4: Helping older workers 61
Chapter 5: Delivering welfare reform 73
Chapter 6: A radical new approach to Housing Benefit 81
Chapter 7: Long-term benefits reform 91
Chapter 8: Consultation arrangements and contact details 95

"Ministerial foreword

Since coming into office in 1997, we have embarked on a radical series of reforms to our welfare state. We began the New Deal, which has helped hundreds of thousands of people to get off benefits and back into work. We have invested heavily and created Jobcentre Plus, an integrated service for people who need help in finding employment. Through the National Minimum Wage and tax credits, we have acted to ensure that people will be better off in work than on benefits. This Government is the only one to ensure disabled people have the comprehensive civil rights they need. And only this Government has committed itself to reversing the inexcusable disadvantage faced by disabled people by delivering substantive equality within a generation.

Our approach has been based on the principle that the best welfare policy of all is work and throughout this process of reform we have sought to match rights with responsibilities. These reforms have made a huge difference. Britain now has the highest employment rate of any G8 country. Youth unemployment has virtually been eradicated. The number of people claiming incapacity benefits is falling after decades of rapid increases. There are now a million fewer people of working age on benefits. The progress we have been able to make has depended on a strong economy and a dynamic labour market. Both have been achieved and sustained since 1997, but there is more to do.

Our economy and society are changing fast. Our welfare state must help us respond to these changes. It must focus its energy on tackling poverty and social exclusion. Society has a responsibility to support those unable to support themselves. It should help support people in acquiring the new skills they need for the jobs of the future. It must help UK companies succeed in the new global economy. We set out here our proposals for how this could be done. It will require investment to provide more help and support for those who need it. It will involve a range of new providers, helping to mobilise local expertise in a new national effort to extend opportunity and prosperity to those who have been, in effect, excluded. We stand ready to make this investment in our people and our country. …

Rt Hon John Hutton
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
January 2006"