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Reform Watch

13 March 2007
DWP promises to current IB claimants are worthless.

DWP promises that current claimants who are migrated onto the Employment and Support Allowance will not be forced to undertake work related activities have proved to be worthless even before the Bill has got onto the statute books.

One of the key recommendations of the recent report by David Freud, the City banker now at the heart of welfare reform, is the exact opposite: current IB claimants should be forced into work related activities once the resources are available to do so.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, Lord McKenzie of Luton, explained to members of the House of Lords, currently considering the Welfare Reform Bill, that this was one of the 'four principal recommendations' of the Freud report. The noble lord did not go on to say that an undertaking had been given to current claimants that they would not be forced into work related activities and that the government would keep their word. Instead, he merely stated that:

"The Government will be considering these proposals and will come back to the House with a fuller response later this year."

In other words, unless there is a clause in the Welfare Reform Bill specifically stating that existing IB claimants will not be obliged to undertake compulsory work related activities then the government will be free to go back on its word once the Welfare Reform Bill has passed into law.

Minister quizzed over LiMA untruth
Labour MP Janet Dean has written to Jim Murphy asking for 'further clarification' of the ownership of the LiMA software' and enclosing a copy of an email from Benefits and Work.

Controversy over who owns the software arose after Benefits and Work spotted a claim by DWP minister Jim Murphy that the software belongs to Atos Origin rather than the taxpayer. (See: Reform Watch 27.02.07 Lies about LiMA? and Reform Watch 12.02.07 Has LiMA been sold off?)

We emailed Ms Dean after she called us to discuss our doubts about the accuracy of the minister's response to her parliamentary question about LiMA. In our email we set out the history of previous misleading information provided by the DWP both about the ownership of LiMA and about the ownership of a wide range of other DWP documents wrongly attributed to Atos Origin.

Ms Dean's office have promised to get back to us when they receive a response from the minister.