Welfare Reform Green Paper

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:32 pm on 24th January 2006.

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Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions, The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:32 pm, 24th January 2006

I largely agree with my right hon. Friend. This is not a punitive package of measures; I think that that is clear, and I hope that he is clear about it. The challenge for us on the Government side of the House is to develop proposals that are radical and have that far-reaching effect, but are not characterised by the label "punitive". I do not believe that that would work. I agree with my right hon. Friend that if we are to succeed in moving people from incapacity benefit towards the opportunity of taking up employment, we shall need a dynamic local labour market and a strong national economy—and I am confident that if the Labour Government continue with the way in which they have managed the economy, we shall achieve that goal as well.