PM to unveil welfare reform plans

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David Cameron will warn that people can no longer be trusted to claim only the benefits they need

David Cameron will warn that people can no longer be trusted to claim only the benefits they need as he unveils radical welfare reforms

A “standardised” system of sickness and unemployment handouts was sustainable after the war because people felt “shame” when they abused it, according to the Prime Minister.

But perverse incentives introduced over the years have undermined aspiration and “collective responsibility”, and left the taxpayer with a multi-billion pound burden.

Mr Cameron is to launch the Welfare Reform Bill at an event in London with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The proposals include replacing most existing benefits with a universal credit – designed to ensure people are always better off when they are employed, and close the loophole where some couples receive more living apart.

Those who refuse to take up job offers face losing their handouts for up to three years, and there will be tougher sanctions for fraud.

The Prime Minister will also announce moves to tackle the UK’s “sicknote culture”, pointing out that 300,000 people leave work and claim sickness benefits every year.

The Government’s national director for health and work, Dame Carol Black, and David Frost of the British Chambers of Commerce are to lead a review of the problem.

Setting out his argument for shaking up welfare, Mr Cameron is expected to say the system was originally based on a “collective culture of responsibility”.

“More than today, people’s self-image was not just about their personal status or success,” he will insist.

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