Today’s figures should open up debate on how to reform the current system of tax credits and benefits. What is clear is that more needs to be done to address the growing number of people who are actively contributing to society but yet are finding it increasingly difficult just to get by.
In Ed Miliband’s speech on social security yesterday, he set out a number of ways in which the present system pays for failure: having too many people in long-term unemployment; subsidising low paid work; subsidising rents rather than building homes; and not recognising contribution.
In a speech today at Newham Dockside, Ed Miliband will tackle head on the attempts to brand Labour the party of welfare, and will say that controlling social security spending and putting decent values at the heart of the system are “not conflicting priorities”.
The professed aim of the introduction of Universal Credit is to boost the personal responsibility of claimants, smooth the passage to work and prepare out-of-work claimants for their next job. There are a number of problems with Universal Credit, however – problems which haven’t been given anywhere near the amount of coverage by the press that they warrant.