Welfare 'should not be crutch' Monday September 12, 11:34 PM Yahoo News The welfare state must be transformed from a "crutch" for the economically inactive into a ladder which allows people to climb out of poverty, Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has said. Mr Blunkett's comments, in a speech in Washington, coincided with reports suggesting that he is getting ready to cut incapacity benefit for millions of claimants in a radical overhaul of the benefits system. It was claimed that Mr Blunkett's get-tough approach would involve new moves to get people into work and training. The Government is due to publish a Green Paper on welfare reform in the autumn. In his speech, Mr Blunkett said: "The welfare state can no longer be seen as a crutch or a mere safety net but must be a ladder by which people can escape poverty and not fall back." Mr Blunkett cautioned that Europe and the United States have to face up to the challenges of globalisation and ageing populations, and focus on a "something for something" agenda which builds routes out of poverty. Mr Blunkett said: "Work is the best road out of poverty and dependence. "The welfare system should therefore be geared to assisting people of working age out of the need to rely on continuing support, as well as being geared to provide security and decency for those who we would all accept require substantial ongoing personal care. "The challenge is how the provision of financial benefits can be turned from a safety net into a ladder, assisting people through rapid change and insecurity, and geared to their return to independence." Shadow work and pensions secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind said: "Every time Mr Blunkett wants to grab a positive headline, he rolls out another 'welfare crackdown'.