Labour U-turn over benefits

LABOUR is set for a U-turn on its social welfare policy after Liam Byrne claimed that the benefits system had “skewed social behaviour”.

The shadow work and pensions secretary highlighted the work in the 1940s of William Beveridge – often considered the father of the welfare state – who said long-term unemployment benefits should be conditional upon attending work or training.

Byrne called for “tough-minded” reform and criticised the rising cost of housing benefit. His comments are likely to anger left-wingers who have already opposed coalition welfare cuts.