Mark Jewell

Liberal Democrat campaigner working for Ashton, Larches, Savick and Lea Learn more

Councillor’s concerns with future access to benefits

by markjewell on 29 June, 2012

County Councillor Mark Jewell has expressed his concerns with the implementation of the government’s welfare reforms.

His concerns are based on benefit claims only being made online or at regional centres. Furthermore, benefits will only be paid into bank accounts.

When you are talking about almost 40% of residents with some social landlords not having a bank account or access to the internet, then many genuine claimants will effectively be left without access to benefits. I believe local authorities, like Lancashire County Council and our libraries could have a greater role to play in making these welfare benefits more accessible to genuine claimants.

CC Mark Jewell has called on the government to give more time to sort out the IT for the new universal benefits and give more time to educate and explain to those residents with social landlords affected by for example the bedroom tax. I would also look to the government to help social landlords build their housing stock so that residents are not penalised for having a spare room when there is no smaller accommodation to move to. This would also help to stimulate the economy whilst addressing some of our more immediate housing needs.

Commenting he said, “I do acknowledge the need for these welfare reforms. Under the previous Labour government the welfare bill rose from £11 billion to over £21 billion. This is not a sustainable position. To deliver fairness to those claiming benefits and the taxpayer, as well as protecting the most vulnerable in our society, reform is needed of our welfare system. However, it would simply be immoral if a growing underclass of society cannot reasonably access the benefits they need.”

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