The government is planning to tweak benefits to encourage people back into work.
On Q&A yesterday:
GUYON So this is quite interesting, it’s something we haven’t heard before, you are going to Cabinet with the policy to again send young mums who are on the DPB out to work when their child reaches a certain age, and to tighten the eligibility perhaps around sickness benefits or to reduce that in some way?
BILL Well these are policies consistent with the undertakings we made when we were in opposition.
GUYON But they’re back on the cards now that things are picking up a bit?
BILL That’s right yeah, we’ve always felt that we could do a better job of making sure people had more incentive about getting off welfare to make sure it’s a bit more difficult to get on those longer term benefits, because once people are on those they’re pretty much trapped out of participation in the work force.
Guyon is wrong about not hearing this before, as Bill said this was National’s election policy.
Not being new won’t stop criticism of it.
However, what the critics overlook is that while benefits help people in the short term it’s not good for the recipients or society if people who could work stay on them for years.
Finding work which is flexible enough to fit around child care needs for single parents isn’t easy. But not being easy isn’t an excuse for not trying.