Recent years have seen a growing interest in the contributory principle in welfare. Polling has signalled a sea change in public attitudes, with many disillusioned by the current system, feeling it promotes a 'nothing for something' culture.
Politicians from both sides have increasingly responded to this dissatisfaction. Liam Byrne, the shadow welfare spokesman, has said that, if elected in 2015, Labour would 'strengthen the old principle of contribution'. This echoes Ed Miliband's promise that 'Labour will be a party that rewards contribution, not worklessness'. Meanwhile Conservative MP Chris Skidmore proposed a system of loans to welfare claimants, which would be paid back through future contributions.
Something for Something explores a new idea for contributory welfare. It lays out a cost-neutral alternative which would ultimately create a two-tier system for Job Seekers Allowance to reward work and encourage a greater sense of reciprocity within benefits - the basis for public support for the welfare system.