Tory right aims for abolition of most benefits: Paper calls for single payment
Tuesday 03 August 1993
The blueprint for revolutionising the social security system is the first public indication of how far the Tory right is prepared to go in dismantling the welfare state, targeting money solely on lower-income groups.
The proposals are put forward today in a pamphlet written by five backbench MPs from the 1992 intake. The fact that Mr Lilley and Mr Portillo are members of the group ensures that their ideas will receive influential backing in Cabinet. Earlier proposals from the group on education, the health service and privatisation have been adopted by the Government.
Both ministers have ordered spending reviews and are looking for significant cuts - Mr Portillo to help reduce the pounds 50bn Public Spending Borrowing Requirement, and Mr Lilley to his ever-increasing social security budget, which is set to reach pounds 80bn this year.
The proposals in Who Benefits? Reinventing Social Security, would reduce the benefits system to a minimum safety net for the poorest groups and remove all benefits from the better-off. The Whole Person Benefit would be paid at different levels according to individual circumstances.
The State Earnings Related Pension, mortgage interest tax relief, rent rebates and rent allowances would be abolished; unemployment benefit entitlement would be cut from 12 to six months; the state pension age would be equalised for men and women at 65, and eventually at 67; the earnings-related element of invalidity benefit would be phased out and invalidity benefit would be taxed as income.
Child benefit would be replaced with child tax allowances and funds targeted on children in needier families within Whole Person Benefit. Other benefits such as disability and invalid care allowances, and sickness and maternity pay, would also be incorporated with the single benefit. The changes would be introduced in three phases over about 10 years.
The pamphlet does not say how much the new benefit would be, or how much the changes would save overall. One of the authors, Barry Legg, MP for Milton Keynes South West, said: 'We are not in a position to detail costings . . . but if you can focus resources on those who need them most, there are going to be substantial savings - 25 per cent of the social security budget now goes to the wealthier half of the population.'
Donald Dewar, Labour's social security spokesman, said: 'This is a clutter of ill-digested ideas. The proposed cuts in unemployment benefit are a clear breach of the contributory principle. The creation of a single benefit is thoroughly impractical. These are paving proposals for a two-tier welfare state.'
- 1 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 2 Watch: Man takes selfie every mile of 2,600 mile hike, creates amazing timelapse video
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
Germanwings plane crash: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
Andreas Lubitz: Knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 enabled mass murder
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...