Let us, for the sake of argument, assume that a Labour Secretary of State, Rachel Reeves MP takes up post on Friday 8th May in the SoS’s offices at Caxton House.
Ms Reeves will be handed a file of issues requiring her attention, some well known about, for example, manifesto pledges; others less so, the real progress of development on and implementation of Universal Credit, say, and some virtually unknown, the slow collapse of existing benefit payment systems.
Using insider knowledge and my own insight, I am going to prepare my own mini file for Ms Reeves. Most of the issues, barring the first six, should not be treated as being listed in any particular order. I leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide your own priorities. However, I contend that my first six are urgent and to some extent inter-connected.
To set the tone of a new approach to social security, the first issue to be addressed should be:
Number 1: Repeal of the Bedroom Tax
Number 2: Care and Maintenance of JSAPS and ESAPS
Number 3: Staff Morale
Number 4: What to Do About Universal Credit?
Number 5: The Culture of DWP and Trust
Number 6: Unpicking Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘Welfare Reforms’ and Addressing the Matter of Sanctions
Number 7: DWP Statistics
Number 8: The Future of the Work Programme and Back to Work Support
Number 9: Refocusing DWP’s Employer Support on the United Kingdom’s Job Creators
Number 10: Time to Take a Reasoned Approach to Promoting Self Employment
Number 11: Effective Partnership Working
Number 12: Universal Jobsmatch
Number 13: Digital by Default
Number 14: Is DWP Fraud Washing Its Face?
Number 15: End the Dispute as to Whether Soft or Hard Skills Provision is Best for Jobseekers