ASHLEY Fox, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the new Bridgwater constituency, has pledged to support benefits claimants whilst still being fair to the taxpayer.

It comes amid news of the Conservatives' plan to deliver a projected £12 billion of savings from the welfare system, which the party hopes to 'reform' due to a rise in benefits claimants.

The reformed welfare system will reportedly be 'fairer and more sustainable', and will bring the numbers of working age people claiming benefits for a health condition or disability under control.

It will also focus on making sure that 'being on benefits is a safety net, not a lifestyle choice.' 

Mr Fox, who will stand against Leigh Redman (Labour), and Claire Sully (Lib Dem) at the general election on Thursday, July 4, said the plan will bring extra mental health support.

“The Conservatives bold action has made huge progress to reform our welfare system but we must go further to better support claimants across Bridgwater and Burnham whilst being fair to the taxpayer," he said.

“Our clear plan will dramatically expand mental health support and deliver on our fraud clampdown measures that are forecast to save £7.7 billion, saving taxpayers money whilst improving support for those in need.

“Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will take the bold action needed to make welfare fair for taxpayers."

Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, added: “Reforming welfare is a moral mission. Work is a source of dignity, purpose and hope and I want everyone to be able to overcome whatever barriers they might face to living independent, fulfilling lives. 

“That’s why we have announced a significant increase in mental health provision, as well as changes to ensure those who can work, do work. 

“That's the choice at this election – between our clear plan that’s fair to taxpayers and fair to people who need help."

Mel Stride, Work and Pensions Secretary said: "As Conservatives, we believe that work brings a sense of purpose, identity and belonging, and that everyone should have the right to contribute and fulfil their potential.

 “So we are taking bold action to help more people into work and make the welfare system fairer for the taxpayers who pay for it."