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A single core benefit: lessons from New Zealand

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Social Security Law
DatePublished - 2009
Issue number1
Volume16
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)12-29
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Both the United Kingdom and New Zealand have been investigating the introduction of a single core benefit to replace the existing plethora of categorical benefits with different entitlement rules and benefit levels. The New Zealand top-down approach means that its policy development is in advance of the United Kingdom, where discussion has been limited to Green Papers and Select Committees. The Minister of Social Development in New Zealand has announced plans to introduce a single core benefit in 2010, with officials having done the related policy and legislative work. Both countries recognise that the categorical system provides a significant barrier to work, the risk of benefit eligibility if employment is short-lived, and incentives to shift from low to higher paying benefits. The article uses the New Zealand experience to demonstrate that a single core benefit is both feasible and desirable for the United Kingdom, leading to administrative simplicity, and ensuring that rules for benefit eligibility support the aim of improving labour market participation. Cross-party political support is needed as the required legislative development may take more than a Parliamentary term of office.

    Research areas

  • employment/benefits

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