SHARE your views on social policy.
The Department of Social Care has launched a public consultation on how the community cares for those in need as, like in the UK, the welfare bill has become unsustainably expensive and the need for change has been ignored by previous administrations.
It asks for people’s views on future policy and the values underpinning it.
Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK said: ‘If we just go on with policies the way we are now and allow this to grow the damage to your [younger generations’] futures will be profound and that’s unacceptable.’
The principles the department has adopted are that welfare is not purely the responsibility of government.
Secondly, the government’s role is to support and enable people to achieve what they can within the resources available, with support for those in need enabling them to become more self-sufficient.
And finally, that we all have a shared responsibility to support and protect the most vulnerable in the community.
Mr Robertshaw has announced a new model for social policy, called the ‘two-way escalator’, which he said was a ‘major change to public policy’.
It recognises that the current benefits system is badly targeted and often traps claimants in a culture of dependency.
The escalator divides the population into four broad groups – the supported, the coping, the self-sufficient and the well-off.
In the downward direction the escalator, targets scarce resources to those in greatest need. It reduces costs through means testing and needs testing. At present, many benefits are universal.
In the upward direction it sees government embarking on a programme of ‘enablement’, providing opportunities, services and incentives to help people achieve their maximum potential.
Vote on this issue using the web poll panel at the right of this story.
At present, many public services and benefits are provided on an open-ended basis.
The truly vulnerable will continue to get support while others who seek assistance from Social Care will be given help to help themselves get away from the benefits trap.
Expenditure of benefits has rocketed by 29 per cent in five years, hitting £77.3m in 2011-12. Income Support payments rose by £3.2m in the last year – £2.8m over budget.
Treasury estimates that in 30 years the number of people aged over 65 years will nearly double. High-dependency groups are growing faster than the wider population.
Mr Robertshaw initially announced there would be two consultations – one considering the case for greater means and needs testing and the other outlining the case for greater enablement and personal responsibility – but decided it made more sense to combine them.
The findings will be made public in October ahead of a social policy debate in Tynwald in December.
This will help government formulate the overall social policy framework. Detailed public consultations on specific reforms will take place during 2013, which means it will be from 2014 that reforms are implemented.
The consultation deadline is midday on September 17.
Complete the questionnaire online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/iomsocialpolicydebate
Alternatively copies are available from Tynwald Library, Commissioners’ officers, post offices and the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal. To request a copy email iomsocialpolicydebate(at)gov.im or call 685129.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: South