I’ve drafted a response to the consultation: here is a link to the document. I’m aiming to submit the response in the next couple of weeks, but I’d be grateful for comments before I do that. The main points I’ve made are these:
- The aims of benefit systems are complex. Oversimplification threatens to compromise important principles. (paras 5-7)
- Terminology can be tested to see if it has unexpected implications. (para 11)
- Benefits are only one form of support; sometimes direct provision is preferable. (para 13)
- If benefits are to get to the right people, entitlement needs to be clearer and the terms on which benefits are delivered need to be less sensitive to personal differences. (para 22).
- It should not be assumed that citizens must register claims before they can receive benefits. (paras 3, 21)
- Aspects of administration can be delegated to third sector agencies (paras 14, 15)
- There have to be systems for independent scrutiny, rapid review and redress. (paras 17, 18, 23, 24)
- Interactions with other benefits should be avoided. (paras 7, 8, 25, 26)
- Transitional arrangements create complexities. They can be avoided by buying out rights. (paras 19, 20)
It’s not helpful to go on too long in a consultation response, and what I’ve sacrificed are comments on particular benefits – I’ve already been at sessions discussing disability benefits, maternity and funerals, and no doubt there’ll be others.
I’ve blogged less this month, partly because there’s not been much news, but because I’ve had a load of other things on, including caring responsibilities, painting windows, this submission and book contracts. I’m also finishing off two short books to meet deadlines: Arguments for welfare will be published by Rowman and Littlefield, What’s wrong with social security benefits? by Policy Press. Both should be out in 2017.