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    Duncan Smith unveils 'welfare contract'

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    ODN

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    People who have been unemployed for more than six months could be given support to set up their own business under a plan unveiled by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.


    Mentoring and a package of financial support worth up to £2,000 would be available under the New Enterprise Allowance to get a firm up and running.


    Mr Duncan Smith told the Conservative Party conference he hoped 10,000 small firms would be set up by next year under the scheme.


    The plan was announced as part of the radical shake-up of the welfare system being put in place by Mr Duncan Smith, who claimed the Conservative Party had "concern for the poor running through its DNA".


    He told activists in Birmingham that he wanted a "welfare contract" with the British people, promising support for the vulnerable matched with responsibility for ensuring money is only going to those who need it.


    Mr Duncan Smith confirmed the new "universal credit" would replace the "complex, outdated and wildly expensive benefits system".


    He said it would be "a real time system which will also help cut the cost of fraud and error" and added: "Our implementation of the Credit alongside the comprehensive work programme will make sure that everyone out of work will be given the greatest support to find work and every financial incentive to stay in work, because work will pay."


    Turning to the new small business plan Mr Duncan Smith said: "If you have been unemployed for six months and want to start your own business we want to support you.


    "We will provide business mentoring and a financial package worth up to £2,000 to get your business up and running. We want to see 10,000 new small businesses by next year."


    He added: "This is the biggest reform of the welfare system in a generation. No longer will they be able to say it isn't worth their while going to work."