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Social security advisers have warned Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, that part of his welfare reforms is unworkable, according to reports in The Observer and The Independent yesterday.
The Observer report says the Social Security Advisory Committee has strongly criticised plans to require part-time staff to try and obtain more work or lose their benefits. It says that this is unrealistic in the current economic climate.
The Observer says the proposals could affect anyone who earns less than someone working 35 hours on minimum wage. It states that part-timers could lose benefits if they don’t apply frequently enough for jobs, don’t attend interviews for better paid jobs within 48 hours of being asked to by a job centre or for not taking up a full-time job within 90 minutes of their home. The Government says each case will be considered on its own merits.
Universal Credit is set to replace several working-age benefits starting in 2013.