8 Conclusion |
379. Throughout this inquiry we have heard evidence
of substantial dysfunctional complexity in the UK benefits system.
Reports by the National Audit Office, Public Accounts Committee
and the Department, as well as the contributions we received,
all alluded to this. Incremental change, alignments of rules
and improving the service for claimants certainly have a role
to play in addressing these problems but there is still a long
way to go.
380. Our concern is that the current DWP approach
addresses only the tip of the iceberg, looking at new policies
but not necessarily the existing structure, examining parts of
the system in isolation. Without a wholesale review of all benefits,
and tax credits, their interactions and idiosyncrasies, meaningful
simplification will never be achieved. We do not believe that
the Benefit Simplification Unit can do this in its current form.
381. We recommended earlier in this report that a
high-level group should be established in the short-term to make
suggestions for simplification. We also believe that the Government
should establish a Welfare Commission, similar in format and remit
to the Pensions Commission, which can take a holistic view, model
alternative systems, and come up with a considered blueprint for
a way forward. A benefits system which DWP staff, claimants and
welfare rights advisers have a hope of understanding is in everyone's