Evennett backs benefits changes

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, welcomed the Government’s proposed reforms to the benefits system during a speech in the House of Commons yesterday (9 March). Speaking during the 2nd reading debate of the Welfare Reform Bill, Mr Evennett highlighted the problems with the current system that meant that some people were better off on benefits rather than in work and the increased costs of providing welfare payments.

Mr Evennett argued that “Those who can work should work; that is the responsible thing to do and the best route out of poverty. Our aim should be to encourage people to take jobs and I believe that most people want to work and to find a job. The Government’s role should be to help match people to the vacancies on offer, to ensure that they have the skills they need to take on jobs, and to provide individual support in the meantime to help people to get there. The Bill offers opportunities for change to enable people to do that.”

The Welfare Reform Bill will merge existing benefits, such as jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance and housing benefit, in to one payment – a universal credit. There will be a limit on the maximum amount that people can receive and a cap on the level of housing benefit, based on the size of the property.

During the debate, Mr Evennett also criticised the previous Labour Government for creating a “welfare culture in which people claimed everything they could. People not only acted irresponsibly but were encouraged to do so; as a result, some people were better off claiming state handouts than their neighbours who were working”.

Concluding his remarks, he added that “I believe that the Bill will deliver real progress from a coalition Government who are determined to reform a system that is unwieldy, unfair and unacceptable”.

The full text of the speech is available here: http://is.gd/L7UCUw