PM 'would consider sick pay change'
Prime Minister David Cameron is ready to consider changes to allow workers to save towards their own sick pay and unemployment benefits, Downing Street has indicated.
The idea was floated by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who said he was "very keen" to look at the possibility of people using flexible financial products to build up savings from which they can draw at times of need.
Downing Street stressed that the move - which would represent a significant shift towards a "social insurance" welfare system of the kind seen in a number of continental countries - was not Government policy, but made clear that Mr Cameron was not ruling it out.
Mr Duncan Smith told the Sunday Telegraph: "We need to support the kind of products that allow people through their lives to dip in and out when they need the money for sickness or care or unemployment
"We need to encourage people to save from day one but they need to know that they can get some of the money out when their circumstances change. This is not government policy, but I am very keen to look at it, as a long-term way forward for the 21st century."
Asked whether Mr Cameron backed the idea, the PM's spokeswoman told a Westminster media briefing: "T he Prime Minister shares the Work and Pensions Secretary's view that we should be doing more to encourage people to take personal responsibility for how they manage their affairs and prepare for eventualities in the future.
"This isn't government policy, it's an idea that's out there."