Have the Lib Dems had a change of heart on benefits?  Their ‘pre-manifesto’ published today details a range of measures  intended to improve the support offered to claimants,  should the Lib Dems find themselves in another coalition government.{jcomments on}

The measures include:

  • A reformed and improved work programme
  • A review of the work capability assessment with the possibility of it being taken away from the private sector.
  • Quick and fair assessments for disability living allowance and personal independence payment.
  • One assessment and one budget for sick and disabled people.
  • A ‘yellow card’ before benefits sanctions are applied.

We’d love to hear your views on whether the Lib Dems are offering real change in the benefits system or merely indulging in a cynical pre-election ploy

The full text  of the pre-manifest on  ‘Proper support for vulnerable people’ is as follows:

 Liberal Democrats believe everyone out of work deserves help to get back on their feet. For too long, sickness benefits were used as a way of parking people away from the unemployment statistics.

We need to get a better grip of the work assessments. We must ensure assessments are fair to those who cannot work, while offering support and challenge to those who can. We will invest in getting proper help – from health care to employment advice – to all those who need it.

We will:

Deliver a reformed and improved Work Programme in partnership with national governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and in England, local councils, to help people get back into employment. We will ensure people with mental and physical health conditions get the right support to get back to work through closer working between the NHS and employment support providers, recognising the link between employment and mental and physical wellbeing. We will improve support for carers seeking to return to the jobs market.

 Ensure the ‘work tests’ are fair, accurate and timely. We will review the Work Capability Assessment and evaluate the merits of a public sector provider. We will also ensure that assessments for Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment are carried out quickly and fairly.

Simplify and streamline the system of back to work support we provide for people with disabilities. We will aim for the goal of one assessment and one budget for disabled and sick people to give them more choice and control over their support.

Introduce a ‘yellow card’ before benefit sanctions are applied to give people a warning that their benefits could be withdrawn.

You can download the full pre-manifesto from this link.



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