PM suggests welfare changes

Prime Minister David Cameron makes a speech on welfare reform.
Prime Minister David Cameron makes a speech on welfare reform.
Share this article

PROPOSALS under consideration within Government could change the welfare system so claimants receive different levels of benefits depending on where they live.

Downing Street revealed that regional benefits were one of the options for shaking up the welfare system which Prime Minister David Cameron has been looking at.

And employment minister Chris Grayling told the House of Commons that it was “entirely sensible” to have a debate about whether regionalisation of welfare levels was “the right approach for the future”.

But the idea was dropped from a speech in which the PM floated cash-saving measures such as ending housing benefit for under-25s, limiting the welfare paid to families with three or more children, cutting the link between benefits and inflation and taking away council homes from high earners.

Claimants could be required to learn how to read and write, draw up a CV or to take action to improve their health, in order to carry on receiving benefits.

Single parents could also be told to take steps to prepare for a return to work as early as three years after their child’s birth.

Mr Cameron stressed that he was not setting out policy plans but trying to start a national debate on how to make savings in the £84bn bill for working-age welfare.

But the PM’s ideas sparked concern among charities working with young people and the poor, who warned that they would hit vulnerable people.