Back to Work

Hunt in new ‘get a job or lose benefits’ warning

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt: ‘there will be consequences for those who refuse work’

A plan to get 1.1 million people off state benefits and back into the workplace will come with a stern warning that those who refuse to take a job will lose their benefits.

The Back to Work Plan will form part of the Autumn Statement and is being unveiled as part of a package of measures to stimulate the economy and tackle poverty. It builds on a £7 billion employment package announced in the Spring Budget.

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt says that getting more people into work and ensuring work pays remains a key priority for the government.

He said: “We’re serious about growing our economy and that means we must address the rise in people who aren’t looking for work – especially because we know so many of them want to and with almost a million vacancies in the jobs market the opportunities are there.

“These changes mean there’s help and support for everyone – but for those who refuse it, there are consequences too. Anyone choosing to coast on the hard work of taxpayers will lose their benefits.”

Mr Stride added: “We are rolling out the next generation of welfare reforms to help more people start, stay and succeed in work. We know the positive impact work can have, not just on our finances, but our health and wellbeing too.

“So we are expanding the voluntary support for people with health conditions and disabilities, including our flagship Universal Support programme.

“But our message is clear: if you are fit, if you refuse to work, if you are taking taxpayers for a ride – we will take your benefits away.”

The new measures include stricter sanctions for people who should be looking for work but are not doing so, and include ending their access to additional benefits such as free prescriptions and legal aid.

Benefit claimants who continue to refuse to engage with the Jobcentre will face having their claim closed. The latest published data shows that there were 300,000 people who had been unemployed for over a year in the three months to July.

There will also be a clampdown on fraud and error and digital tools to track claimants’ attendance at job fairs and interviews.

Mr Hunt is expected to announce changes to inheritance tax and offer a numbe of business relief packages to stimulate the economy, but he will resist cuts to personal taxes which are deemed to be inflationary.

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