Welfare reform: Your views


The biggest welfare shake-up since the 1940s will see benefit cuts for those who refuse to take jobs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith plans to bring in a single Universal Credit to replace work-related benefits like child tax credit, housing benefit and jobseeker's allowance.

Claimants moving into work will keep more of their income than now, but face losing their benefits for up to three months if a job offer is refused.

Some unemployed people have been speaking to the BBC about their experiences.

Tunji Lemoshe, London

I am not working. I am on income support and on the bread line. I don't think the reform plans will work.

I have found it impossible to get a job and am seeking training with the hope it will improve my employability.

I wanted to apply for training to be a security guard, it was a job advertised in the local newspaper.

Training was offered for free to people but when I phoned them up, they said it was only free to people on jobseeker's allowance, not income support.

In order to get the training I would have to come off income support and go on to jobseekers, just to get the training I need to get a job that wasn't guaranteed.

I do not see these reforms working, the plans are flawed and will I believe they will create a much bigger problem.

Having worked for the last 42 years, I now find myself out of work at the age of 60.

I desperately want to work again, but regardless of the law, many employers take age into account

I have only had a few interviews despite sending off hundreds of applications.

In my case, I believe I match the requirements well, but prospective employers don't even bother to respond.

If I go for jobs below the position I was in, then I still get nowhere as I'm considered over qualified.

I don't even get jobseeker's allowance, as my wife works.

These reforms won't help me and will not help everyone who is unemployed get jobs.

We're not all work shy. I can't get work because of my age."

I have a first class degree.

I work one day a week but I am still seeking full-time employment.

The planned welfare reforms worry me.

What if I refuse three jobs in a row, will my benefits be cut?

I don't want to accept any job that is offered to me.

I want to use the skills and degree I have, under the reforms I wonder if this will be taken into consideration?

Jobseeker's allowance, surely the clue is in the title.

Looking for a job is a full time job.

I am 60-years-old and I am not happy with these planned reforms at all. I would be £9 a week worse off under them and it is hard enough as it is.

Per week I receive a work pension of £198 and housing benefit of £45 to help with my £100 a week rent.

The housing benefit calculation allows earnings of only £132.60 per week.

For every £1 above this I lose 65p in housing benefit. As my pension increases I only benefit by 35p in every £1.

As the minimum wage equates to £207 per week, why is there such a low weekly allowance for benefits claimants to live on?

I think instead of cutting housing benefit, the government should get the money from private landlords. Many of them received financial incentives to get into the letting market, and now they are pushing their rents up.

It is not the tenant who is at fault here, but the landlord, so why doesn't the government force them to make rents affordable.

I agree with the changes to an extent. I have been on both sides of the coin and hated being unemployed. Once I gained employment my benefits were automatically stopped. I had to struggle and fell behind with bills until I received my first pay check. Yes, it will get those people into jobs who generally don't want to work, but what kind of jobs will be out there for them to do? How will these low skilled individuals get a job that will pay enough to cover their rent and bills? I am 29-years-old have lots of qualifications yet haven't got a decent paid job. Mel, Wirral

I whole heartedly agree. Those people who simply won't work and won't seek work must be penalised for it. Why should those of us that work hard pay to keep those that won't? Bob, Stafford

It is about time there was a proper system to stop benefit scroungers! If they haven't worked for a year, then they should do something for the council to earn their money. I know plenty of people, including myself, who have been out of work but none of them have ever gone longer than a couple of months. There are plenty of jobs out there! Jane, Manchester

As a career adviser I regularly work with the long term unemployed. Many of them have complex personal histories, backgrounds and different ability levels that often mean they are not easily going to find work. Then there are the unemployed who have avoided work for all sorts of reasons and do not have a culture of work in the family, but these people are a small proportion of the whole. Christine, Matlock

I agree with the principle of making work pay but I can foresee a lot of problems in practise. A lot of people in low paid work struggle with public transport costs to and from work. It is all well and good saying move closer to your job but we all know how difficult that can be. Also, how can you expect someone who has never worked or has been out of work long term to step straight into a job? Tom, Gateshead

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