Tories unveil 'three strikes' rule for benefit claimants

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Indy Politics

David Cameron will unveil plans tomorrow for a new "three strikes and you're out" rule to bar jobless people from claiming unemployment benefit if they turn down offers of work.

Claimants would be stripped of payments worth 59 a week for a single person if they refused "reasonable" job offers. They would be docked one month's benefits for turning down one job, three months' benefits for turning down a second offer, and up to three years' benefits for turning down a third reasonable offer.

The proposals also envisage requiring 2.6 million incapacity benefit claimants to attend medical checks, a move the Conservatives believe would immediately take 200,000 people off benefit.

Mr Cameron wrote in the News of the World yesterday: "To put it simply, we'll end the something for nothing culture."

Chris Grayling, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, later added: "It's time to take tough action against those who are deliberately staying at home and claiming benefits rather than going back to work."

Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said jobless claimants already lost benefits for six months for turning down reasonable offers of work. The existing regime already requires claimants to take up reasonable job offers or face a loss of benefit for six months. Seeking to present a 'three strikes' policy as a radical shift is dishonest," he said.