'Conservatives focusing on welfare reforms ahead of elections'

Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday said that if his Conservative party comes to power after the general election this year it would effect radical changes to benefit welfare schemes in the country.

London: Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday said that if his Conservative party comes to power after the general election this year it would effect radical changes to benefit welfare schemes in the country.

Cameron said "Young people out of work, education or training for six months will have to do unpaid community work to get benefits if the Tories win the election."

He said about 50,000 18-21-year-olds would be required to do daily work experience from day one of their claim, alongside job searching.

"The welfare shake up would make sure young people don't get sucked into a life on welfare," he said in a speech.

Labour has promised a jobs guarantee for the young unemployed. The Conservatives are focusing on welfare reforms this week as they draw up battle lines ahead of May's general election.

Their proposed Community Work Programme will cost about 20 million pounds to deliver, paid for by "initial savings" from the delivery of Universal Credit.

Those aged between 18 and 21 who have not been in employment, education or training, known as "Neets", for six months would no longer receive Job Seekers' Allowance (JSA).

Instead, they would be paid the Youth Allowance, paid at the same rate as JSA - 57.35 pounds a week.

However, in order to receive it they would be required to carry out 30 hours a week of mandatory community work from the first day of claiming benefits.

This could involve making meals for older people or working for local charities, alongside 10 hours of job hunting.

Cameron said, "our goal is effectively to abolish long-term youth unemployment. That well-worn path - from the school gate, down to the Job Centre, and onto a life on benefits - has go to be rubbed away".

"To achieve that we have set a bold expectation:? When you leave college, you should either be earning or learning. Doing an apprenticeship, studying at university or college, or doing a job. And the right incentives have got to be there to encourage this," he said.

"We've already said that with a Conservative Government - save in exceptional circumstances - it will only be possible for a young person to claim Housing benefit when they move out if they have a job," Cameron added.  

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