Magazine article Public Finance

Purnell Urges Welfare Conditionality

Magazine article Public Finance

Purnell Urges Welfare Conditionality

Article excerpt

The work and pensions secretary has insisted that a toughening of access to the welfare system will improve social justice, as charities warned that the most vulnerable people still faced major barriers to finding employment.

James Purnell told a Citizens Advice fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Manchester that 'conditionality is the ally of social justice'. Increasing the conditions to be met to receive benefit would encourage people to find work, he said.

'We are trying to change the welfare system, so there are the right obligations for people not to be trapped on benefits that don't create the right incentives and don't provide the right support.'

The benefits system is seen as one way the government can meet its target of eliminating child poverty by 2020, and Purnell said benefit levels would continue to become more generous.

As Prime Minister Gordon Brown was announcing plans to give a legal basis to the child poverty target by 2020, and for free childcare for two-year-olds to be extended to all families, Citizens Advice produced a report setting out five key barriers facing lone parents in finding work. …

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