Ed Miliband unveils benefits plans at Rich Mix cinema in Bethnal Green

Ed Miliband Photo: David Mirzoeff

Ed Miliband Photo: David Mirzoeff - Credit: Archant

Ed Miliband unveiled his plans to change the benefits system in a speech in Bethnal Green yesterday, saying he wants to move people from Jobseeker’s Allowance to training under a Labour government.

Speaking to packed theatre on the fourth floor of the Rich Mix cinema, the Labour Party leader said: “A Labour government will get people to sign up for training, not sign on for benefits.”

Mr Miliband said he will increase Jobseeker’s Allowance from £72 to £100 a week for people who have been in work for the past five years if he becomes Prime Minister next year.

He also wants to end adult out-of-work benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds who have no qualifications, and replace them with a new youth allowance if they take vocational training of AS level or equivalent.

This is likely to affect around 100,000 young people.

Mr Miliband said the changes would effectively “abolish the 16 hour limit on training that has for decades held people back”.

He added that the new youth allowance will be means-tested so people whose families earn more than £42,000 a year will not receive the benefit.

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The speech on June 19 drew on proposals in a new report called Condition of Britain by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a think tank which also hosted the event.

Representatives from charities, businesses, political lobby groups and the press were able to ask Mr Miliband questions after the policy statement.

Mr Miliband said there were changes that can be made to address growing inequality that will not cost extra money, and that this would be the focus of a Labour government.

He said: “Great inequalities in our country are damaging, wrong and can be tackled. In each generation we must seek to tackle this inequality.

“The question is, how can we make the country work not just for the few but for the security and success of ordinary families across the country?”

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