British Welfare System Set to Undergo ‘Fair’ Change

The British welfare system will receive a major shake up in the coming weeks following years of misuse. After claiming a majority vote in the House of Commons in January, Justice and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith has the go-ahead to implement the controversial changes. 

house of Commons

The House of Commons – where the controversial reforms were finalised

Written by Adam Sinclair Charles

–       What I’m trying to do… is to change the process so that we end up restructuring the culture so that people find that work always pays. It doesn’t right now, Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC.

–       The government are trying to lower the welfare bill in a way that we can be as fair as possible – without slashing or attacking people but trying to reform it.

The changes include cuts to the welfare, housing and council tax benefits. With the latter reductions due to take effect immediately. Every council in England is to decide whether they will foot the bill for the cuts themselves, or pass on the reduction costs to residents. The majority of council’s have added to their residents’ bills. Two million low-income households will pay more as a result of the changes to council tax.

Welfare Benefit

Despite this, the welfare benefit has caused the most uproar. The case of Mick Philpott, who fathered 17 children all raised on income from the state, has been seen as the catalyst for these reforms. Philpott gained £68,000 annually through his children. Successful change in this department will mean welfare claimants will not receive more than the average annual household income after tax and national insurance. Currently this stands at £26,000. 

These changes will first take effect in the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey, but other councils will introduce the measures in summer.

The Department of Welfare and Pensions says around 7,000 people who would have been affected by the changes have subsequently moved into work. It is estimated that £51m, spread across 3 years, will be saved as a result of these measures.