[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 24 July 2006, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Welfare Reform Bill
This bill amounts to a radical shake-up of the welfare system, focusing mainly on incapacity benefit

Responsible department: Dept of Work and pensions
Origin: House of Commons
Introduced: 4 July 2006
Second reading: 24 July 2006
  • Creates a new benefit, the Employment and Support Allowance, which replaces exisiting Incapacity Benefit
  • Assessment for eligibilty would take place over a longer period - probably 13 weeks - incl a medical test to establish capability for work and "work-related activity"
  • The new benefit may require the recipient to participate in "work-related activity" - such as health assessments and interview workshops - if they are deemed to be capable of doing so, and have only a "limited capability for work"
  • If the recipient is deemed to have a "limited capability for work-related activity" as well as work itself, they will receive benefits automatically
  • Benefit for the above category of recipient will be increased
  • Includes a number of welfare reforms e.g.benefit fraud, housing benefit
  • New regulations will not apply to current recipients of incapacity benefit

  • Removes need for people to have a National Insurance contribution record to receive incapacity benefit, and for people taken ill whilst at work to have been off work for 28-weeks
  • Work and Pensions Secretary John Hutton has addressed backbench fears that people on incapacity benefit may be forced back to work or be penalised for not taking part in "work-related activity", by leaving the clause on those activities open to debate
  • Conservatives have not yet revealed their policy on the subject, but have suggested "supported employment" as a route back to work
  • The Liberal Democrats are critical of the means-testing being introduced into the benefits system, but are generally supportive of government attempts to encourage people to return to work

    Has China's housing bubble burst?
    How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
    Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific