UK: Government welfare reform bill to be introduced

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The coalition government is to present its proposals to overhaul the welfare system later, with some of the key elements being to reduce long term unemployment. These are thought to include a new ‘back to work’ programme; changes to taxes and benefits which aim to encourage benefit claimants to seek work and the lowest-paid people to increase their hours by removing existing rules which effectively cut their ‘take home pay’; and plans to penalise those refusing work by withdrawing benefits for up to three years.

The opposition Labour party has expressed conditional support for some of the proposals whilst other critics believe that they will punish people who cannot find work under the current difficult conditions.