A new year and a new start

There has been much in the press these past few days about the start of the new Benefits system.

There are some starling statistics out there, firstly we heard that almost 900,000 people have come off Disability Living Allowance by not going to the tougher medical assessment, either CBAs (can’t be arsed) or in effect saying OK I’m rumbled!

To better understand the implications of all the changes, a couple of weeks ago I attended the first conference I have seen that sort to look at the reforms in the round and their cumulative impact, organised by Inside Government. Lord David Freud was the key note speaker who spoke of Housing Benefit reform and the transition to Universal Credit and if the rough ride he got is anything to go by the next few months will be, as they say ‘we live in interesting times’. I think in the past few days we have seen the issue firstly with Ian Duncan Smith being challenged to live on the benefits and then George Osborne speaking about the number of people who will be better off as a result of these changes with millions of people no longer paying any tax and millions more paying less.

What I know is that in my County Council Cabinet role there are a number of areas where we have a significant impact on people lives who rely on benefits to live a life and I wanted to better understand our role and how we can make sure the steps we take do not compound the impact of Governments changes but help people navigate through this worrying time. Once such example is our charging policy for social care and in February I recommended to the Cabinet that we pause and reflect on changes, whilst the national changes are being implemented, which we have done.

I think the Guardian Newspaper front page on Monday gave a good summary of the issues ahead and the concerns of many. There is no doubt that the system needs to change and that we simply cannot afford to continue on the trajectory of the welfare state share of the national spend. Paid employment is not only good for your mental health it must surely mean you have a better life than if you refuse to work. But the key work is refuse, if you can’t work then the state should rightly provide you with the funds to live a life.

Over the next few weeks I’ll blog about the numbers in Suffolk and some of the issues I think we need to be mindful of.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal, anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Park Farm Cottage, Fordham St. Genevieve, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS

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