Part-time workers could see their benefits cut
5 October 2012
People who cannot find full time work are next in line to potentially lose their benefits, a report by think tank Resolution Foundation has revealed.
The latest reforms will target adults who work part-time, of which there are 1.4 million in the UK. It is estimated that 1.2 million of those workers will need to prove that they should be entitled to retain their benefits.
The aim of the Department of Work and Pensions is to remove benefits from these workers and force them to take steps to make up the difference themselves, either by getting additional hours at their job or another job, or by seeking higher wages.
The reform is part of the government’s plan to bring in Universal Credit, a new benefits system which is designed to unify a number of current benefit systems, including income-base Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefits. The system, which is set to be implemented in October 2013, is being implemented to replace the current benefits system, which ministers feel is costly and outdated.
However, with these findings, the Resolution Foundation became the latest organisation to express concerns about the proposed reforms, questioning whether jobcentres would be able to handle the assessment of an extra 1.2 million people.
They also fear that claimants will be expected to find extra hours or second jobs in areas where this simply would not be possible. “Larger questions remain about whether an extension of conditionality to working claimants can function in the current context of a chronically weak labour market in which millions of people want to work more hours but are unable to do so.”
Last month, a cavalcade of 74 charities, councils, and other organisations submitted written evidence detailing the many concerns they had with the implementation of the new benefit system. Among the issues raised were the impact of the transition to monthly payments, the potential risks of paying all benefit to one member of a household, and whether IT systems and staff would be ready in time.