A simpler system
We believe that the main issue with the UK’s social security system is its complexity. Therefore, this plan seeks to simplify the system to ensure more people who need help from the government receive it. It creates a level below which no one can fall whilst also reducing the costs the existing system spends on administration.
- Northern Ireland, Scotland and the UK,
A Minimum Income. A minimum income guarantees that anyone out of work or on a low income will receive enough money to live above the poverty line. If you start to earn money from a part time job or one that pays below a living wage, the minimum income will decrease until you are earning a living wage. This means work will always pay more than being on benefits unless you are receiving extra support. The payment itself would be made once per week and would increase during periods of cold weather to pay for heating bills. If possible, we support these payments being decided on a regional level, so payments keep up with the living costs in different areas.
This will be available to anyone earning below a living wage, who is over 18 years of age and has below a certain amount in savings. The payments will increase with inflation and there are several circumstances in which the payments will be larger. They need to cover any training, job interviews or travel for NHS treatment people need.
A Minimum Income is a simple system that would streamline social security. It would replace Universal Credit system, housing benefits, jobseekers’ allowance, Income Support, the Cold Weather Payment, the Warm Home Discount Scheme and the Winter Fuel Payment.
A series of top-up systems:
- UK wide.
The Parental Leave top-up. If you have children, the top-up will work so it is either added to statutory paternity pay given to you by your employer or your minimum income so it pays a living wage. This will last a year in total although the person giving birth to the child will have an extra 4 weeks off before the child is born. This will be at 90% of normal pay, 25% of which will be paid by the employer and 75% of which will be paid by the government. It will be split between partners with both partners having to take at least 30% of the total time with the rest being split however they want. The first payment will be larger to deal with the initial costs of having a child and after that payments will increase with inflation. They will then reduce as the child gets older and allows for part time parental leave. For those that are on a minimum income, after the year comes to an end they will receive a smaller payment at the same rate as child benefits for the next 5 years. This would replace statutory paternity pay, statutory Shared Parental Pay, paternity leave, shared parental leave, child benefits, maternity pay and maternity allowance.
- UK wide.
Retirement top-up. The retirement age would be set at 65 for both men and women. When you reach this age, you would receive payments from income tax contributions. Savings made into the Income Tax will be increased with the triple lock formula although private pension funds would be an alternative to this. This would replace the basic state pension and pension credit.
- Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK.
Carers top-up. If you are a carer, then you will be able to receive a Negative Income Tax. This will supplement either your wage or an unemployment Negative Income Tax. This is regardless of age and for any period whilst you are a caregiver. It will top up wages minus costs incurred as a career, so you reach a living wage. This would replace the Carer’s Allowance.
- Northern Ireland and the UK.
Bereavement top-up. If a member of your immediate family dies, then you will be able to take Bereavement leave with a Negative Income Tax for four weeks. There are no maximum savings or earnings to receive this. This will increase with inflation. This would replace the bereavement support payment.
- Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the UK.
Disability top-up. If someone is unable to work due to disability, then they can receive a Negative Income Tax. This would include a living wage payment for those out of work as a result of injury or disability with payments for those with extra requirements such as equipment or individual carers on top of this if needed. This would also be available to people who are self-employed and are unwell. There is no time or age limit for how long someone can receive this payment and the individual, or if need be a guardian, will receive the money. We would also link NHS services to this program to ensure those who need help receive it. It would replace the disability living allowance, the personal independence payment, incapacity benefit, Attendance Allowance and the Employment Support Allowance.
- Whole UK.
Replace the Department for Work and Pensions with a Department for Social Security. The department of work and pensions will be replaced with the smaller department for social security as a Minimum Income means less administrative work.