Welfare Cuts Are Not Workable, Say Unions.
The government’s biggest benefits overhaul in decades will not work unless jobs are available, unions and campaigners have warned.
Proposals to reform Britain’s benefits system to “make work pay” had been unveiled by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
He outlined how he wanted to rectify the current system, where he claimed that benefits pay more than work and which, he claimed, has created “ghettos of worklessness” where “idleness has become institutionalised.”
One option included combining the current income-related benefits and tax credit systems.
Another called for supplementing monthly household earnings through credit payments reflecting circumstances such as children, housing and disability.
But Unite assistant general secretary for public services Gail Cartmail said: “Most economic forecasts are indicating that British growth in the next two years is likely, at best, to remain low.
“That means the likelihood of new jobs being created without the impetus of state spending is negligible.”
PCS union general secretary Mark Serwotka agreed that the proposals wouldn’t work if there were no jobs to go to.
“The government’s own research shows that for every job cut in the public sector, another job will be lost in the private sector, and the cuts could add another one million people to dole queues,” he said.
Child Poverty Action Group policy chief Imran Hussain said the government must mend the safety net for families who cannot find work and provide fair public services for those who need them most.
A spokeswoman for single parent charity Gingerbread argued that more detail needed to be drawn up with assurances that the most vulnerable will be protected.
Scottish TUC general secretary Grahame Smith added that the fundamental issue of low pay as a key contributor to poverty and a drain on the welfare budget had been sidestepped.