All out-of-work benefits and tax credits could be scrapped and replaced with a single payment in a radical shake-up of the welfare system aimed at abolishing Britain’s worklessness culture.
This idea is one of several options being considered by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith after claims the current system is “on the verge of breakdown”.
Labour has said the start-up costs of a new system – which would apply across the UK – could be as much as £7bn.
Mr Duncan Smith refused to comment on the cost of the changes but claimed billions could be saved in bureaucracy, fraud and error with the introduction of a radically simpler system.
In a speech in London, Mr Duncan Smith said “ghettos” of worklessness had been created in Britain where generations were growing up without hope or aspiration.
He said the danger of providing benefits that were adequate in amount and indefinite in duration was that “men settle down to them”, and the benefit system had created pockets of worklessness where “idleness” had become institutionalised.
This drastic reform comes as a record high of five million people claim out-of-work benefits, with nearly 1.5 million of them claiming for nine out of the last 10 years.
Mr Duncan Smith wants to remove disincentives in the tax system to finding work, making sure that claimants do not find themselves worse off when starting a job than on state support, which some say is often the case under current arrangements.
Commercial recycler and social welfare charity Recycling Lives, offers those facing an uncertain future and stuck in the welfare system the opportunity of changing their lives for the better.
Recycling Lives offers accommodation, education, training and work experience and helps those individuals ready to change an opportunity to achieve full time employment and independent living.
Recycling Lives Chairman and Founder Steven Jackson said: “Recycling Lives has proved its concept works time and time again. 100 per cent of the individuals completing the Recycling Lives programme have ended the cycle of worklessness, welfare dependency and educational disadvantage and become contributing, respected individuals holding down full time work and a home of their own.
“Recycling Lives demonstrates business can be a force for good and is a unique solution to these growing national problems.”