Former Welfare Minister Frank Field has called for a radical shake-up of NHS funding, social care and welfare benefits, to let the public 'own the system.'
Lord Field, now a peer representing his Birkenhead Social Justice Party, proposes replacing the current National Insurance system with a new "Social Security Mutual" - which would be owned by contributors, not the Treasury.
In their research, Lord Field and Andrew Forsey, boss of hunger charity Feeding Britain - revisited the Beveridge Report - the founding document of Britain’s post-war welfare state - to see how the same aims could be met in the 21st century.
The authors say cutting National Insurance and welfare free of Whitehall, and funding the system directly from workers’ contributions is the only way to “combine the self-interest of individuals with the interests of the country as a whole and, in particular, those of the poor.”
The proposed system would be overseen by an elected board to "protect contributions from Treasury raids."
Lord Field said: "Today, sadly, the provision of benefits or services takes no account of people’s prior contribution to society, but instead punishes those who have saved or want to work.
“That’s why rebuilding welfare around the principles of universality and actuarial soundness is the way to create an effective system in which the public can have confidence."
Co-author Andrew Forsey said the Government’s increasing reliance on means testing - excluding people from benefits because they had savings or assets - had “corroded” the ability of the welfare system to meet need in a way that is seen as fair.
He added: “Such a trend, along with the failings in the labour, housing and social care markets, has left millions of households leading a precarious existence, with basic needs unmet or sacrificed.”