The subject of welfare and benefits is very rarely mentioned by any of the current political parties; in fact it is an issue that they all try and avoid at all costs. The reason they don’t like discussing the subject is because both the main parties know it needs sorting out but they feel that by discussing what they plan to do will cost them votes. This is something that both the Conservatives and Labour are good at – avoiding the very serious issues that exist in our country today; issues that need to be addressed.
We in Britain are very fortunate to have a benefit and welfare system in place to help any of us who may lose our job or fall on hard times. It is a safety net to which we all contribute, so that if our circumstances change for the worse we can all receive help. It is a wonderful system and something that UKIP will maintain and cherish.
However, it does need sorting out and we need to start making work pay. Who can blame people being on benefits when it does not incentivise them to work? For instance, imagine a mother with two children who works as a cleaner for £90 per week; under the current system her benefits would reduce by £70 a week and she would be working all week for just £20. Of course she is not going to look for work under this system – nor would I; it just does not make sense.
UKIP would solve this problem. First of all we would raise the tax threshold to £13,500 before people start paying tax, so that anyone on the minimum wage would not pay any tax at all. This would help most people back into work. We would also take on the challenge of giving a better deal to the self-employed and to those who run small and medium-sized businesses. These small firms are the backbone of our country because they create most of the new jobs, which would reduce unemployment.
We will pay a higher job seekers’ benefit to those who have paid into the pot through National Insurance contributions as they deserve to take more out when they need it. This will be calculated pro-rata against what they have paid into the system. We will also enroll unemployed welfare claimants onto community schemes or retraining workfare programmes. If people don’t turn up for these then their benefits will be stopped. UKIP will crack down on benefit fraud. We will make a welfare state for the needy, not a bed for the lazy.
We would also axe the bedroom tax. UKIP strongly opposes this because it operates unfairly, penalising those who are unable to find alternative accommodation and taking insufficient account to the needs of families and the disabled. We would also end the unfair ATOS-style disability benefit assessments.
Child benefit would be paid only to parents of children permanently resident in the UK and future child benefit would be limited to the first two children only. Immigrants must financially support themselves and their dependants for five years before being able to claim benefits.
Ex-servicemen and people whose parents were born in Britain will take priority when social housing is allocated, and UKIP will also support families by introducing an assumption of 50/50 shared parenting rights when relationships break down. In addition, grandparents will receive visiting rights.
UKIP supports a simplified, streamlined welfare system. We believe in a fair approach to the benefits system, an approach that recognises the need for Government to provide a strong safety net when circumstances prevent us being financially self-sufficient and one that also sends a clear statement that welfare abuses will not be tolerated under UKIP.