The Schizophrenia of Mr Duncan-Smith

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government has at long last unveiled their ‘welfare reform’ plans, which are already touted as being “the “most significant reform” of the coalition so far”.(1) As expected, the reforms are mainly centered around the Work and Pensions Secretary Duncan-Smith’s pet project, the implementation of a single benefits system. Under this system, all benefits would be put essentially into one ‘package’, the universal credit – with the notable exception of disability benefits – and be immediately linked to the payroll deductions tax database. The advantage would be that doing so would allow the government to no longer have to rely on the old ‘all or nothing’ approach to benefits, and thereby eliminate the possibility of part-time or short-term work causing an actual decrease in overall annual income compared to unemployment. Instead, people under such partial contracts would be allowed to keep part of their universal credit so they would not lose out on the move towards regular work. Continue reading “The Schizophrenia of Mr Duncan-Smith”