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Minister responds to Scrutiny benefit report

28 March 2011

The Social Security Minister today (28 March) welcomed the Scrutiny Sub-Panel’s long awaited report, adding that he will respond more fully in due course.

Deputy Ian Gorst said  “I am pleased that the report identifies from the very start the significant improvements in the lives of those on low incomes that Income Support has delivered.

"The positive impact upon pensioner and young families, highlighted in the report, is particularly pleasing.

“I am somewhat concerned that in the tough economic times we all face, the central message of the report appears to be that more should be spent to increase the money in the pockets of the unemployed.

"The government has responsibly agreed to make savings of £65million, yet this report recommends that Social Security should not contribute to that saving. Instead the report expects hard working families to pay more tax.”

The report identifies through survey questions posed by the Social Security Department that it is not just those on Income Support who are finding life more challenging in the current economic climate. The effects are being felt by many families.

The Minister is reassured that all of the recommendations made in the report essentially amount to a finessing of the current system.

The Minister is also satisfied that that the hypothetical examples chosen in the report actually demonstrate that even working for minimum wage makes people better off financially than choosing a life on benefits.

The Minister was also pleased to note that the issues that the report recommends he considers within his own review of the system, are all ones for which work is planned if not already well underway, in particular the comprehensive review of housing rents that is well advanced.


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