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Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Friday, 4 January 2013

Liam Byrne MP: Welfare system in 'state of disarray'


The Labour party have announced a new policy on welfare. They say, if re-elected, they will guarantee a job for the long-term unemployed, paid for by restricting tax relief on the pension contributions of high earners.

The long-term unemployed must, in return, take the job offered to them or face losing benefits.

The new policy is seen as a response to a vote next week on benefit uprating and to the wider debate on welfare.

The government is planning to increase most benefits for working-age people by less than the rate of inflation - a cut in real terms.

Labour hopes the new policy will show the party can be kind to benefit recipients while also getting tough on those who do not strive hard enough to find a job.

Liam Byrne - the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary - told the Today programme: "A few years ago we were promised something of a welfare revolution and I think what's now clear is that universal credit, the work programme, the benefit cap, are all in a state of some disarray.

"We don't think that it's right to be attacking working families in this way to pay for the government's failure to get Britain back to work."

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