The issue of welfare reform is hugely important to many people.
Just last week the Evening Standard published a report by the respected polling company Opinion Matters that fully 87% of Londoners are in favour of limiting overall welfare payments. Londoners support the government's introduction of a benefit cap and many believe it should be even lower than the current £26,000 a year figure.
Time and time again people on the door steps tell me that the whole benefits system is unfair. A staggering £1.5 Billion is paid out in welfare benefits in Ealing alone and Labour have consistently opposed these changes. This is why the Conservative Opposition on Ealing Council raised this as our key motion for debate at last week's Full Council.
Finding employment means that households can avoid the benefit cap. For those working 16 hours a week, or 24 hours for a couple household, then the cap is lifted. For the first time, instead of simply handing out the benefits, officers at Ealing Council is now working hand-in-hand with the Jobcentreplus and other agencies to encourage people back into work.
There is advice available and those who are concerned are encouraged to seek that advice. Meanwhile this is a fundamental shift to encourage people to move off benefits and into work.
Councillor David Millican
Conservative Group Leader
Ealing Town Hall