Citizens Advice: Welfare reforms must tackle poverty

| August 4, 2010 | 0 Comments
Citizens Advice: Welfare reforms must tackle poverty

Government plans to review the welfare system with a view to simplifying benefits have been given a guarded welcome by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

The CAB said simplifying the system will help more people claim the benefits they are entitled to.

However, it warned that the reforms must continue to provide support for the poor and vulnerable.

Teresa Perchard, CAB director of public policy, said in 2009 the CAB had to deal with more than 2 million problems related to benefits and tax credits.

“Complex rules result in overly long and complex forms and systems, with applicants in need of help from the welfare system passed from pillar to post,” Perchard said.

She said if proposed changes get the go ahead it could “transform the culture of our welfare system”.

“We especially welcome proposals which could allow much greater flexibility for individuals to work a small number of hours a week without losing benefits and to keep more of what they earn and save.”

However, she warned that even with reforms, the welfare system must continue to help people living in poverty.

“It is vital that citizens who need financial support from the state at any time in their lives are treated with respect and dignity and are appropriately supported,” Perchard said.

“A welfare system that does not turn the tide on poverty is embedding inequality in our society.”

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