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Income Support Plans "Fail To Protect Worst Off"

Planned changes to Income Support are being challenged by a Reform politician.

Deputy Judy Martin's proposal would see families get an extra £260 a year (£5 a week), but Deputy Geoff Southern says it will still fail to protect the worst off.

The Social Security Minister says increasing the family supplement will help parents with the cost of bringing up children.

Other elements of the benefit are also due to increase by up to 1.9%, including the income disregard  - the amount a household can earn without it affecting their financial support.

But former Assistant Minister Deputy Southern says that fails to reduce income inequality.

"Various Ministers have done that (increase the income disregard), that's what they most like doing to encourage people back into work.

"But what it does is make those who are unemployed who don't work and cannot work worse off."

He's proposing most components go up by 3%, for the family supplement to rise by £2 a week rather than £5 and the disregard removed.

"There are two things you can do to reduce income inequality - that is reduce those at the top end or increase the incomes of those at the bottom end. This (Deputy Martin's proposition) goes in the opposite direction.

"Their scheme would have a single unemployed adult receiving an extra £3 a week, compared to someone in work who would get an extra £9 a week. Mine is far more equitable."

Deputy Martin has since responded to the amendment, urging States members to reject it.

She says her proposition backs the States' commitment to put children first, encourages a sustainable and vibrant economy and reduce levels of people living in relative low income.

"The amendment focuses exclusively on an increase in the value of Income Support components. This doesn’t support the broader aim of this priority, which is to help people move towards their own independence, through taking on opportunities and participating in the labour market." - Deputy Judy Martin, Social Security Minister.

Deputy Martin's financial estimates:

Increase financial incentives: £600,000

Increase first child component by £5: £500,000

Increase most other components by 1.9% - £1.5million

TOTAL: £2.6million

Deputy Southern's financial estimates:

Increase financial incentives: £0

Increase first child component by £2 - £200,000

Increase most other components by 3% - £2.3million

TOTAL: £2.5million

The proposition and amendment will be debated in the States Assembly tomorrow (16th July).

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