Government 'to make claimants earn their benefits'

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Indy Politics

Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell issued a warning that virtually all welfare claimants will have to do some form of work or prepare for a job if they are to carry on receiving state benefits.

Mr Purnell is due to set out his plans for reform of the welfare state in white paper to be published this week.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said: "Virtually everyone will be doing something in return for their benefits."

The measures in the white paper, which builds on last summer's green paper, include proposals to reform housing benefit to prevent jobless claimants living in large houses at the taxpayer's expense.

Single mothers of children as young as one will be required compelled to go on training courses and work experience or face a cut in benefits while incapacity benefit claimants will have to undergo medical tests.

Companies will be allowed to bid for contracts to place the long-term unemployed in work and US-style "workfare" schemes will be introduced forcing claimants who turn down jobs to work in return for benefits.