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"I'll squeeze them 'til the pips squeak!" Alternatively, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green may be saying something else about benefit claimants [Image: Ben Birchall/PA].

“I’ll squeeze them ’til the pips squeak!” Alternatively, Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green may be saying something else about benefit claimants [Image: Ben Birchall/PA].


Here’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The concept seems sound – revive the contributory principle for benefits so that people who put more into the system are able to take more out.

But any suggestion that it will benefit the poorest is a lie: Poor people don’t have extra money to contribute to the benefit system.

This seems like a front for further dismantling of benefits. A contributory scheme such as is suggested here could make way for a private insurance scheme very easily.

Does the public support that? Are we willing to pay regularly into insurance schemes that deplete our meagre savings and probably won’t pay out when we need the cash (look at the example of Unum in the United States)?

Sure, those who have worked longer deserve more support, but we already have a good, working principle on which our benefits are based.

It’s this: From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs.

Ah, but you won’t see any Torygraph columnist repeating that, will you?

It was coined by Karl Marx.

There is now an opportunity for the Conservatives to build a popular and effective welfare system that adequately protects what Theresa May has called “ordinary working-class families” who are “just managing”.

There is a growing number of policymakers, inside and outside of Government, who believe the next stage of welfare reform should be to offer more “contributory benefits”.

The public are on side: an overwhelming majority believe that it is fair that those who have worked longer – who have put more into the system – deserve more support in testing times.

The new Government should introduce a Contribution Supplement to Universal Credit and the base rate of Statutory Maternity Pay, rewarding higher amounts to claimants with longer work histories.

The Government should also introduce tax-free, contributory top-up accounts for those on low incomes. Those who decide to use them would have some of their savings matched by government, and would be able to draw down from their account in challenging financial circumstances to top up existing welfare support from government.

Source: Conservatives should reform welfare on a simple principle: you get out what you put in

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