Ian Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith takes a hard line on the welfare system which he is trying to reform (Reuters)

Norman Tebbit's famous remark from the early 1980s that you "should get on your bike" if you are looking for work has been echoed in a report published by a leading thinktank Policy Exchange.

It suggests some claimants should be required to sign-on in Job Centre Plus offices which are located in areas where more work opportunities exist, even if this means travelling miles away.

Such an approach could rely on legislation that says jobseekers must be prepared to travel up to 90 minutes and "give some single childless claimants broader knowledge of potential opportunities in a wider area", according to the report called Cultures of Dependency: Facts, Figures and Solutions.

Such tough reform proposals come after the British Attitudes Survey found sympathy for the unemployed had grown in 2013.

Attitudes had hardened to welfare in the five years since the financial crisis erupted in 2008, but have are now softening.

The 30th report of its kind uncovered that people who view benefits for unemployed people as being "too high and discourage work" fell to 51% in 2012, down from 62% in 2011.

Another measure from Policy Exchange called for families signing on together so the system could not be easily cheated and so they motivate each other to find work.

Moreover, work groups could be set up where in work claimants who are receiving welfare could support those claimants who are not while Universal Credit is implemented by the government.

Ultimately, the report called for locally-targeted and devolved solutions in areas of high unemployment in the UK.

The findings of report was based on research into claimants in Stockport, Leicester and Hounslow with 33 in depth interviews, six focus groups and 322 survey responses alongside academic literature on the subject.