MP in welfare warning to Blair
Wednesday 27 March 1996
Chief Political Correspondent
Tony Blair was urged last night by a leading backbench expert on social security not to adopt means-testing of child benefit and the state pension in Labour's fundamental review of the welfare state.
Chris Smith, Labour's social security spokesman, is looking at means- testing as part of Labour's review to reduce the burden of the welfare state under a Labour government.
As an alternative to means-testing, Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, urged Labour to expand the role of the mutual aid societies, including building societies.
He called for the party to consider proposals by the mutual aid societies for a three-tier welfare state: a state-guaranteed minimum; the compulsory purchase of a comprehensive policy covering all main social security needs; and voluntary membership of top-up additional insurance coverage.
Mr Smith will publish policy papers on reform of the welfare state in May: on pensions, welfare to work, child benefit, efficiency savings, and a possible statement of principles.
Mr Field, chairman of the Commons select committee on social security, warned the Labour leadership that means-testing would leave the poor in a social security ghetto.
Accepting that the rising cost of the welfare state was not sustainable in the longer run, Mr Field forecast a "major disengagement". "The easiest and most popular way of achieving this outcome would be for a further disengagement from universal benefits, allowing the middle-class to order their own welfare provision and regimenting the poor ever more into ghetto- type schemes," Mr Field said in the Allen Lane Foundation memorial lecture.
The Government was defeated last night in the Committee Stage of the Community Care (Direct Payments) Bill on plans to allow disabled people to buy care. About 700,000 people are now potentially eligible for the scheme - 20 times more than envisaged.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Cyclist in Russia narrowly misses being hit by car and lorry
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 What are your fingerprint words?
- 5 Gary Lineker involved in Twitter row after presenter rubbishes claims he will be warned by BBC over foul-mouthed tweets
Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
Jennifer Lawrence: Leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by users
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...