Queen's Speech: Welfare Reform Bill

Notes on the Welfare Reform Bill proposed in the 2010 Queen's Speech.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The purpose of the bill

  •  to simplify the benefits system in order to improve work incentives

The main benefits of the bill

  • making the benefits system less complex
  • improving work incentives
  • getting the 5 million plus people languishing on benefits into work and out of poverty
  • reducing the scope for fraud and error

The main elements of the bill

  • removing the confusing complexity of the benefits system, which too often leaves people afraid to make any change to their circumstances and can be a barrier to moving from benefits to work
  • making people see a gain when entering work through simplifying the benefits system
  • reducing the scope for fraud and error by making the benefits system simpler
  • reducing unnecessary administration of benefits - currently people can have overlapping entitlements or switch between different benefits - around 200,000 people a year cycle between Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Incapacity Benefit (IB/Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Existing legislation in this area

  • Welfare Reform Act 2009
  • Welfare Reform Act 2007
  • Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992


Any benefit changes will apply to Great Britain. Provision or benefits in Northern Ireland is devolved and will require parallel legislation.

Published 25 May 2010