Changes to the welfare system will mean that unemployed people who turn down offers of work, refuse to apply for appropriate jobs or fail to turn up for mandatory community work will lose their £65-a-week Job Seekers Allowance, the coalition government announced today.
The Welfare Reform White Paper, launched today by Iain Duncan Smith, will simplify welfare by introducing a "universal credit" to replace a system which had become overly complex and counter-productive under Labour, with more than 30 different and confusing benefit payments. It will remove barriers to work by making sure that work always pays, and bring welfare spending back under control.
Setting out the changes, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:
"By simplifying and having one withdrawal rate we will actually make sure people will retain more of what they earn as they go back to work, thus making work pay more than being on benefits. That's the critical bit.
"We will help people look for work and get them work ready, that will go alongside it. Then, if having done all of that people have a job offer, they should take that work. That's a condition most taxpayers would accept."
"This is about saying to people: if you try, if you co-operate, if we work with you and work pays and you still can't get a job then our duty is to support you.
"It is the right duty and we will always stand by it.
"But we cannot, as a society, have nearly one in five households completely without work through a time when we have had the longest and greatest period of growth."