The government has announced the biggest shake-up of the welfare system in 60 years and the underlying principal of the reforms is the desire to support people who want to work hard and get ahead.
For years, our complex and counterproductive welfare system has trapped people in a vicious cycle of unemployment and dependence, with 1.5m people spending most of the past decade on benefits. These reforms will make it pay to work.
I have met many people during my weekly surgeries who are desperate to work. They want to support their families, use their skills and gain the self-worth that comes from employment. But under the current system, they are better off on benefit.
Now is the time to tackle this problem head-on, with major reforms to completely overhaul our broken system. The introduction of the Universal Credit will simplify the benefit system and break the cycle of worklessness.
More than 2.5m of the very poorest in our society will actually be better off, as this simple and transparent system will make it clear that it pays to work.
There needs to be a complete culture change, a move away from the current system that encourages reliance on the state, damages people’s self-esteem and takes advantage of those who do work and pay taxes. It is completely unfair to allow those on benefits to receive more income than those in work.
With the introduction of a proper system of conditionality, it is vital to ensure that those in real need are supported.
This will also prevent the terrible abuse of the system by unscrupulous individuals who have the ability to work but refuse to take a job.
Those abusing the system and taking advantage of the hard-working majority will be penalised with a benefit ban.
Government reforms will restore the welfare system’s founding principle of fairness, re-establishing a culture in which the work-shy are penalised, those in need are supported, and hard-working people are rewarded.