Labour to target benefits claimants



Labour are threatening to cut the benefits of the long term unemployed in a move designed to reduce public spending.


The shock announcement will be made by Gordon Brown tomorrow when he unveils Labour’s election manifesto.


The proposal will see claimants who have been out of work for two years forced to work for their benefit; refusal will see the benefits stopped.


Scotland currently has 145,000 people on Jobseekers Allowance and many are long term unemployed, particularly in the West of Scotland.


Also affected will be thousands of long term sickness benefit claimants who are now being transferred onto Jobseekers Allowance after the introduction of controversial health checks.


Labour’s plan to target benefits was revealed by Newsnet Scotland on 27th March when we reported remarks made by the Secretary of State Jim Murphy.


Mr Murphy had said at the time:

“In Scotland someone on incapacity benefit is on average on that benefit for about eight years, that’s a benefit cost of about £60,000.


“We have a quarter of a million people in Scotland on that benefit and that’s just far too many.


“That would be an enormous saving, particularly in the west of Scotland.”


A senior Labour minister attacked “something for nothing” policies and argued that Labour will provide a “something for something” approach in their manifesto.


The proposals will be seen by many as an attack on the most vulnerable and may be difficult to sell in Labour’s Scottish heartlands where poverty, unemployment and low pay are rife.