A Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill was included in The Queen's Speech delivered to Parliament on Wednesday 27 May.
HM The Queen said:
“Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. New duties will require my ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships.
“To give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, my Government will expand the Troubled Families Programme and continue to reform welfare, with legislation encouraging employment by capping benefits and requiring young people to earn or learn.”
Benefits of the Bill
The main benefits of the Bill would be:
- To ensure that it pays to work rather than to rely on benefits; and to deliver fairness to the taxpayer while continuing to provide support for those in the greatest need.
- To help create two million new jobs and help move young people into paid employment by giving them the support, skills and experience they need to fulfil their potential.
- The new legislation would freeze the main rates of the majority of working age benefits, tax credits and Child Benefit for two years from 2016-17.
- Pensioners would be protected, as would benefits relating to the additional costs of disability. Statutory payments, such as Statutory Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Pay would also be exempted.
- The new legislation would lower the benefit cap so that the total amount of benefits a non-working family can receive in a year would be £23,000. A cap at £23,000 is equivalent to gross family earnings of up to £29,000. Households are exempt where someone is entitled to Working Tax Credit or is in receipt of benefits relating to additional costs of disability, or War Widow’s and Widower’s Pension.
- Put in place a new Youth Allowance for 18-21 year olds with stronger work-related conditionality from Day 1. After 6 months they will be required to go on an apprenticeship, training or community work placement
- Remove automatic entitlement to housing support for 18-21 year olds;
- Provide Jobcentre Plus adviser support in schools across England to supplement careers advice and provide routes into work experience and apprenticeships.
Sources: The Queen's Speech: Briefing notes on the Gov.UK website
Date of publication: 28 May 2015