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Government: No work, no handouts

DANISH POLITICS - Government to cut social benefits. Will force those who are fit and able, to work

Employment Minister Mette Frederiksen says an upcoming reform on social benefits will be based on »fairness and duty« but warned that benefits would be reduced for certain groups, writes

»Denmark needs a system of social assistance based on the principle that it’s beneficial for everybody to work and hold down a job«, she says.

»Those who are ready to work will be given six months to find a job themselves and if they don’t the local authority will find work for them, such as cleaning and gardening for pensioners or snow clearance.«

Employers: Step in the right direction

At the same time, young people under the age of 30 will be offered an education, not social benefits, if they can’t find a job for themselves and will receive the same amount of money as students claiming a study grant (SU).

The Danish Employers’ Confederation (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening), which has consistently called for benefits to be cut, expressed disappointment that the state will continue to assume responsibility for all claimants, but welcomed the planned cuts as a »step in the right direction«.

The left wing Red/Greens, guarantor of the government’s parliamentary majority, has distanced itself from the proposed cuts.

Cuts ‘tragic’

Policy spokesman Finn Sørensen says he has stopped being surprised at the government’s social policy a long time ago. »It’s ‘tragic’ to see benefits being cut, a clear violation of the government’s agreed political platform«, he says.

»The government definitely won’t be getting our votes on this one,« he warned.

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