Fair Reform of Benefits
Basic benefit payments such as Job Seekers'Allowance and lower rate Employment and Support Allowance are awarded at the rate of £67.50 per week, which as anyone reduced to living on this amount will tell you is inadequate. This "is the amount the government say you need to live". The department of Work and Pensions is unable to demonstrate how this very specific sum is arrived at and how it relates to basic costs of living such as food, utilities, clothing etc.The daily subsistence rate for members of the House of Lords is £86.50.
Given that their welfare reforms propose to cap total benefits at around the average wage, the government should introduce a similar benchmarking exercise to ensure that basic benefits more accurately reflect the true cost of living. These benefits underpin the whole benefits system and reforms cannot be said to be fair without resolving inequalities at the bottom as well as the top.
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