Miliband makes benefits pledge

The unemployed would be given higher benefits if they have spent longer in work under a Labour government, Ed Miliband will say tomorrow.

Labour Leader Ed Miliband
Labour Leader Ed Miliband

The Labour leader will argue that the benefits system should be changed so that people are rewarded for contributing more to society.

He will promise to introduce a higher rate of jobseeker’s allowance for those who have “contributed over years” paid for by extending the qualification period.

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Mr Miliband will say: “It is a principle deeply felt by the British people that people should get something back for all they have put in and not get something for nothing.

That’s why people have such commitment to the idea of a proper basic state pension, so that there can be dignity for working people in retirement. And why people are proud that we support those who bring up families, through maternity and paternity leave and pay, child benefit and child tax credit.

“But people also know that the principle of contribution has been eroded over the years with less than 10 per cent of social security spending outside pensions goes on contributory entitlements today.

“And, although it may not be realistic to change the system in its entirety, I do not believe we should allow the contributory principle to recede still further. Instead, we should strengthen it.”

Mr Miliband will also promise changes to the benefits system to help more young people into work.

Under Labour, unemployed young people aged between 18 and 21 would no longer receive adult benefits but would get an allowance conditional on them taking part in training.

He will also respond to calls from councils such as Leeds which have argued they could save money on housing benefit if they could negotiation “bulk purchasing” with landlords.

The Labour leader will say in future councils will be allowed to keep savings made through such deals to spend on building new homes.

Mr Miliband will be speaking at the launch of a new report by the IPPR thinktank where he will say a future Labour government will seek to improve Britain through reforms rather than increased spending.