Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts And Other Busyness

Unemployment Benefit Doled out at Local Rates

Squall 11, Autumn 1995, pg 13.

Regional rates of unemployment benefit, meaning that claimants in Newcastle would receive less than those in London, are being considered by Social Security secretary Peter Lilley.

It is thought that the plan, which would see responsibility to pay the benefit devolved to town halls, is a way of decentralising the Welfare State.

Benefits would be paid at local rates to reflect the different costs of living in different areas. The cost of living in London, for example, is 17 per cent higher than the national average, while Newcastle is 12 per cent lower.

Social justice groups say that regionalisation will lead to local authority competition for the lowest levels of benefit. The reasoning behind this fear is that by setting a low level the work force will be prepared to work for lower wages thus attracting business into the area.