25 August 2015
A detailed report on the proposed benefit changes outlined in July’s Medium Term Financial Plan 2016-2019 (MTFP), has been lodged today (Tuesday 25 July) by the Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel.
The report details the proposed measures necessary to achieve the £10 million savings target for Social Security set by the MTFP. This will form part of the £145 million target the government needs to find by 2019.
The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, said “As a department we recognise the important role we play in ensuring the States is successful in achieving its target of £145 million by 2019. Difficult decisions need to be made when making benefit savings and that’s why we have carefully examined all of the benefits we provide to identify where savings should be made.
The changes I have proposed are based on encouraging people in Jersey to move towards financial independence, as well as safeguarding the most vulnerable in our society. We can achieve this by improving the targeting of benefits in ways that minimise the impact of changes on those individuals who need the most support. An enormous amount of work has been put into these changes to ensure that the overall benefit budget remains steady over the next four years, and is not subject to further cuts during this MTFP.”
The Minister has designed the proposals so that the following areas are protected from the need to make savings:
Changes to Income Support
The proposed package of changes to Income Support chiefly focuses on freezing Income Support rates at 2015 levels until October 2017, although support for rental and childcare expenses will be increased in 2016. Other changes include phasing out additional support for single parents, young jobseekers on their parents’ claim and simplifying the way that income from other benefits is treated.
The Minister has also proposed closing the Christmas bonus scheme, which is available to all pensioners in Jersey regardless of their means, once it has been paid at the end of 2015 and closing the TV licence benefit to new entrants. Some of the money saved from closing the Christmas bonus will be used to improve the 65+ health scheme, which is targeted at supporting the independence of lower income pensioners.
The Department’s savings proposals build in sufficient flexibility to cover any uncertainties and the possibility that the demand for benefits might be higher than anticipated over the next few years.