New shadow work and pensions secretary says guarantee of work is the key to cutting benefits
Douglas Alexander, the new shadow work and pensions secretary, today moved to clarify Labour‘s stance on welfare by saying he will back phased reform of housing benefit and stressing the party’s support for stricter incapacity benefit tests.
He also said he was broadly supportive of plans for a universal credit, the centrepiece of Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare white paper, due to be unveiled next week, but set a series of tests for his support. The universal credit will unify most benefits and tax credits into a single payment.
In his first interview since taking on what is likely to be a central political battleground, Alexander told the Guardian his preference was a Danish model of the state guaranteeing work, and then obliging people to take the job or lose benefit. “This is a form of conditional welfare. Real guarantees of work, but real sanctions if the offer is not taken up.”….. click for full article