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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 April, 2001, 06:24 GMT 07:24 UK
Welfare reforms 'will change lives'
Mother and child
Reforms could include new support for parents
The reform of the welfare state will go further than the "baby bonds" scheme if Labour wins the general election.

Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling will tells his constituents on Friday that the scheme is additional to help for families already announced and will show that Labour is "delivering change on the ground".

His speech follows the government's unveiling of its proposed bond or Child Trust Fund scheme, which would provide savings accounts and up to 800 for every new baby born in the UK.


The real test of welfare reform is: is it working?

Alistair Darling
Next week the government will launch its Choices package, designed to give lone parents more options and support in getting back to work.

Mr Darling will tell his constituents in Edinburgh Central that welfare reform is not just about passing legislation, but about delivering change on the ground.

He will say: "It is all very well to theorise about welfare reform, or to make grand statements about the shape of the benefit system, which sound impressive, but make no impact on people's lives.

"Too often commentators fall into the trap of thinking that welfare reform is just about passing legislation.

"The real test of welfare reform is: is it working? Is it changing people's lives?"

Election 'con'

He will highlight Labour's success in getting more people into work and raising family and pensioner incomes.

"What is needed is the determination to see through the necessary changes across the country.

'Baby Bond'
Birth: 250-500
Age 5: 50-100
Age 11: 50-100
Age 16: 50-100
Total: 400-800
"People have a right to expect a job, and we have a right to expect them to take it."

The government has also announced a Savings Gateway Account under which money invested by poorer households would be matched pound for pound by the Treasury.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said the changes were designed to help dismantle "the barriers that hold people back from developing their potential to the full".

The Conservatives dismissed the "baby bond" plans as a "con" timed purely for the expected June election.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nicholas Jones
"Reforming the social security system was one of New Labour's big ideas"

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See also:

26 Apr 01 | Business
25 Apr 01 | UK Politics
08 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
05 Apr 01 | UK Politics
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