DWP seeks agency for benefits system reforms

James%20PurnellThe Government is seeking an advertising agency for a major campaign that will highlight the reforms of the benefit system. It is understood to be worth an estimated £12m.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is preparing to brief agencies later this week, is looking for ideas to communicate the changes to consumers. The reforms are being ushered in by James Purnell, DWP secretary of state.

The changes are the biggest ever revolution of the benefits system. Under the new plans, the Government will introduce “work for dole” reforms to force citizens into employment. A key part of the Labour agenda, these should be in place by 2013.

The plans will see income support scrapped over the next five years. Those unemployed for more than two years will be forced to either take up voluntary work or lose their handouts.

In addition incapacity benefit will be replaced by the new Employment Support Allowance.

This will regrade as a temporary benefit for everyone except full-time carers and disabled people “with the greatest needs”. In the event of ill health preventing an applicant from working, verification will be required from their doctor.

The Government says that the welfare reforms, which also include new child maintenance measures, will help to take more youngsters out of poverty.

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