The Freud Report, published yesterday, claimed that Labour’s welfare-to-work measures have already reduced the inactive total by 900,000. It is a figure ministers keep repeating. It is deeply misleading. This fall is recorded only by using two very separate sets of data that the minister’s own statisticians tell them should not be mixed. The true figure may be as low as 160,000.
The above is one of several interesting nuggets in the article by Frank Field in the Daily Telegraph today.
Here is another:
The first move a radical government would make would be to devolve power to local offices. As a minister, I argued for giving the local office their own budget, with the proviso that each office had to administer the law. Local offices would be totally autonomous and have the power and resources to devise local programmes that would be the most effective in helping claimants move from benefit to work.
The idea of localising social security strikes a chord. Beveridge was confident in his views about most things. But one thing he openly hesitated about was having a single benefit rate across the country. Pay rates are different in different places. A benefit rate that would seem modest in London might be enough to discourage someone from working in rural Wales.
The arguments from history in favour of local social security are described in The Welfare State We’re In. Look especially at the references to a most remarkable man, Bishop Chalmers.
This is a point by Frank Field that he would totally have agreed with:
the local staff will know many of the claimants personally. They would know which ones have real difficulties, and also which ones were just trying to swing the lead.
- Frank Field assert chronic maladministration of Incapacity Benefits
- Frank Field thinks the unthinkable
- That old chestnut that the Tories shunted people onto Invalidity Benefit in the 1980s in order to keep down the unemployment figures
- Labour claims on crime
- Ruth Kelly’s ‘social justice’ and taxing more pensioners