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Simplify our benefits system

Comment 10th July 2010

I suggest that the excellent Mr Frank Field looks at ways to simplify our benefits system

For instance why do we give a working man, possibly paying higher rate tax a present of £250 tax free each Christmas?

We do and we call it Winter Fuel allowance, payable to everyone over 60. And we have a special department of the Benefits Agency whose sole job is asking people if the want it and then processing the payment. Why not add £400 to the taxable State pension instead? The people who need it will get more and the people who don't need it will pay tax on it.

Another is Income Support and Council funded Care. In order to have your care fees paid by the council you must first claim Income Support. Your Social worker will also work out how much Income Support she thinks you will get and deduct it from the Council contribution. So all the calculations are done twice (possibly differently) and 2 payments are made.

Why not make Councils Totally liable for care fees and then reclaim the whole lot from central government?


Why does this matter?

Our benefits system is horrendously complicated. Every time we have a change they make it worse. Noone understands tax credits, not even the people who administer it.

This has resulted in Billions being overpaid and written off.

It also means that thepeople who most need help cannot understand the system well enough to get what they desparately need.

We have a Benefits system that costs the earth, pays out too much to people who don't deserve it and not enough to people who do deserve it.

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