Hull MP calls for welfare reform that works for all

Diana Johnson MP today called for changes to Britain's welfare system to help people on incapacity benefit into work.

The Hull North MP welcomed the new Welfare Reform Green paper/ A New Deal for Welfare/, which aims to remove barriers that prevent people from finding work. As well as proposals on reforming Incapacity Benefit, the Green Paper also sets out plans for older workers, lone parents and Housing Benefit.

Diana Johnson MP said: "The Labour Government has published major welfare reform proposals, including changes to the Incapacity Benefit system. With 2.7 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit across the country, and some 15,200 in Hull, I know that this is an issue that concerns many Hull families.

"My priority is ending the legacy of benefit dependency and poverty that has blighted many communities since the 1980s, when the Tories used Incapacity Benefit to mask mass unemployment. That's why I back proposals that would give people the incentive to get into work and that offers more help to those unable to work.

"The Government is proposing a new Employment and Support Allowance that will merge Incapacity Benefit and Income Support into one simplified benefit, to be paid on incapacity grounds. People who receive the Employment Support component will get support to return to work with an expectation, backed by sanctions, that they undertake back to work activity, such as training.

"Nobody wants to see anyone with medical problems forced to work. So I welcome the news that people with severe conditions will receive an additional payment and an exemption from work-related activity.

"I believe in modernising our welfare system so that people aren't trapped on benefit and where the most support goes to the most ill.

"In coming weeks, I will be consulting with people in Hull North about the details of these proposals, as I believe that some of the changes must be linked to local conditions, especially the availability of decently paid jobs and training opportunities. However, I believe that in principle these Government proposals are fair to those in genuine need and fair to hardworking taxpayers."