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Liam Byrne MP

Shadow Education minister

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Stories involving Liam Byrne

Labour contribution welfare plan

Labour is considering radical reforms to the welfare system that would directly link benefits to contributions.

Writing in the Observer, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne commits to a return to the "old principle of contribution" championed by William Beveridge.

"There are lots of people right now who feel they pay an awful lot more in than they ever get back," Byrne writes. "That should change."

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman this morning backed the plans, and said it was understandable that people in work felt "very resentful" towards those deemed to be "not pulling their weight".

“He [Byrne] is talking about three principles which we’re working on up to the general election. One is that work should pay, secondly, there should be an obligation to take work, and thirdly that there should be support through a contributory principle for people putting into the system as well as taking out," Ms Harman told the Andrew Marr Show.

"This is a discussion which is underway. And it will come to fruition in what we put forward for our manifesto."

But Ms Harman also criticised the Government for using "divisive" language and suggesting those out of work were "scroungers".

"Instead of just being divisive about it, which is what the Government’s doing, they should actually be supporting the economy into growth. And also having a proper work programme, with a jobs guarantee, which is what we have been suggesting."


Byrne attacks work programme 'chaos'

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne has said the Government's work programme is in 'chaos', after forecasts of the number of people eligible for the programme fell by almost half.

The Government had predicted in December that 2.6m people would got through its work programme between now and 2015-16, but in its May forecast this number fell by 43% to 1.4m.

Mr Byrne today said: "Chaos is engulfing the government's flagship back-to-work scheme. Unemployment is at a 16-year high and yet welfare to work now appears to be in the hands of the Keystone Cops."

"Ministers have got into one almighty mess over their back-to-work programme and the result is there for all to see: a generation out of work and a government department totally unable to cope."

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said the figures were "misleading" as claimaints of Employment Support Allowance were not included in the newer figures.


Labour harden position on welfare

Labour has said it would withdraw benefits from unemployed people for six months if they refused a government-provided job following completion of a placement on the work programme. The proposals, set out by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne yesterday, mark a hardening of the party's position on welfare. Mr Byrne insisted that "the right to work must carry with it a responsibility to work".


Wages down £1000 from 2010

Real wages were a £1000 lower in 2012 than in 2010 according to research commissioned by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Liam Byrne.

The figures from the House of Commons Library show that people were on average £21 a week poorer than they were before the last general election.


Heseltine: A shift of power is underway

Lord Heseltine has said that a "significant shift of power is underway", with regional politicians taking more of a role in fighting for their communities. The former Deputy Prime Minister - and David Cameron's regional champion - singled out the work of Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson, who he said "are in the media day after day... fighting for Scotland and for London". His remarks come as Labour's Liam Byrne said yesterday he would step down from the Shadow Cabinet to run for Mayor of Birmingham if the city votes for a directly elected mayor in a referendum in May.


Labour in 'job guarantee' promise

Labour is preparing to fight the next general election on the goal to create "full employment", with a "job guarantee" for every unemployed person, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary will announce today. Liam Byrne will unveil the scheme to offer every unemployed person a choice of six months work, or losing their benefits. In a speech to mark the anniversary of the Beveridge Report, he will say: "Seventy years on from Beveridge, jobs and a duty to work must be the starting place for renewing the welfare state for the 21st century."


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