Welfare & Disability

We want to see a welfare system that is fairer, simpler and less open to abuse. Our approach is one that firmly opposes the ‘benefits lifestyle’ but also addresses the current welfare regime, which has produced unjust outcomes.

Raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020 and to 67 by 2028 is hugely unpopular. It has been especially tough for women, who until 2010 could retire at 60. Also, millions of people who can now withdraw unlimited amounts from their personal pension pot may not be well-informed enough to make the best onward investments, or avoid falling victim to scams.

HOUSING BENEFITS

The 'bedroom tax' is clearly unfair and is not working. Changes to the way housing benefit is paid are leading some tenants to fall into debt. The Conservative threat to withdraw Housing Benefit from the under-25s may cause even more suffering. UKIP will:

  • Scrap the 'bedroom tax'
  • Continue to pay Housing Benefit to young people under the age of 25
  • Give tenants the right to request Housing Benefit is paid direct to their landlords, whatever benefit scheme they are on.

DISABILITY BENEFITS

UKIP is fully committed to protecting the rights of disabled people, as set out in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We wholly endorse the right of the disabled to access in- home, residential and community support services and we support their inclusion in our communities. We also recognise that there will always be disabled people who are unable to work and we are committed to supporting them through a fair and fit-for-purpose welfare system.

We will end unfair ATOS-style Work Capability Assessments and return assessments to GPs or appropriate specialist consultants, who have full access to patients’ medical records and are likely to know the patient. We believe this makes them the best person to undertake assessments and we will ensure they are adequately funded and resourced to take on this task.

We will also:

  • Require GPs/specialists to notify the Department for Work and Pensions when they believe a patient is well enough to return to work, by issuing a ‘fit note’
  • Remove ‘tick-box’ and quota arrangements from sickness and disability assessments, thereby streamlining and speeding up the assessment processes and continually respecting claimants throughout the process

INVESTING IN FOODBANKS

It is deeply regrettable that there is increasing demand for foodbanks in 21st century Britain. If those who attend foodbanks are in such dire straits that they need food handouts, there is a high likelihood that they will also need additional support to deal with issues such as debt, family breakdown, addiction and poor physical or mental health. Many will need employment or legal advice.

We will therefore contribute to the important work done by foodbanks and develop them into community advice centres for those most in need.

UKIP will train and fund the cost of 800 advisers to work in 800 foodbanks, so the poorest in our society have free and easy access to timely help in their hour of need.

We will also exempt foodbanks and charity shops from charges imposed by local authorities to dispose of unwanted food waste and other goods. They are not ‘businesses’ in the sense most of us understand the term and therefore should not be expected to pay fees for waste disposal.