This White Paper follows the consultation paper ‘No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility’ (Cm. 7363, ISBN 9780101736329) which was itself based on the reforms proposed by David Freud in his report ‘Reducing dependency, increasing opportunity: options for the future of welfare to work’ (2007, DWP, www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2007/welfarereview.pdf). It sets out how the Government plans to take the proposals forward. The Government’s vision for the welfare state is one where everyone is required to fulfill their responsibilities to prepare for, look for and take up work, with support provided at all stages, particularly given the recent economic downturn. The Government proposes a simpler benefits system, with the development of a single income-replacement benefit for people of working age: initially those currently on Income Support will move to either the Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance. Changes to Housing Benefit will also be investigated in 2009. Jobcentre Plus is an effective delivery vehicle and will receive an extra £1.3 billion funding, but it will be supported by more use of private and voluntary services (which already supply 40 per cent of DWP’s employment programmes). Devolving power to the local level will increase effectiveness of service delivery. This paper also responds to and supports the Gregg report on personal conditionality (‘Realising potential .. ISBN 9780101749923) where everyone on benefits is expected to take active steps towards work. Support for disabled people will be enhanced and become more personalised. Those on incapacity benefits will move to the Employment and Support Allowance. More support for jobseekers will be matched by higher expectations. All the reforms are designed to increase employment and release resources for the ending of child poverty by 2020.
This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.