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Ryan proposes streamlining anti-poverty programmes

Published:Friday | July 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Republican Paul Ryan proposed a new plan yesterday to merge up to 11 anti-poverty programmes into a single grant programme for states that he said would allow more flexibility to help lift people out of poverty.

Programmes that would be merged include food stamps, cash welfare, housing subsidies, and heating aid for the poor.

The Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice-presidential nominee is a respected voice within his party. His new 'Opportunity Grant' plan would impose work or job-training requirements on aid recipients and require states that choose to participate to set up at least two service providers, a move he says would encourage partnerships with locally based non-profits and community groups that may better know the needs of their communities.

Ryan, who has travelled the country in the past year visiting with the poor and with those who help them, said current anti-poverty programmes are "fragmented and formulaic" and that his new grant programme would allow greater collaboration within communities to help lift people out of poverty.

"The idea would be to let states try different ways of providing aid and then to test the results, in short, more flexibility in exchange for more accountability," Ryan said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.