I may seem anti-benefits by my rants on Twitter however it is hard to do your views justice in 140 characters. I want to put on record that I love benefits. I can’t imagine living in a country without the safety net and I think it is reflected in the comparison between the UK and other developed countries in terms of our standard of living, homelessness levels etc etc. People pay into National Insurance, they raise children (the future of the UKs economy) and do good in their community and I wouldn’t go as far as saying it is our right but I think it is fair to expect help when we fallen on difficult times. I would probably take benefits further with some form of mortgage protection (considering the Government bailed out so many banks I don’t think they can bemoan some kind of joint scheme) so people who have contributed to NI for so many years can be confident they won’t lose their home should the worst happen (sensible considering our housing shortage. The alternative being repossessed, housed by the local council in a hostel before finding a council house long in the future must cost local authorities greatly!).
It’s great that people who go out to work on crap wages get topped up by the state and can claim back on (drastically overpriced) childcare. There can’t be much incentive working in Tesco for less then a living wage and having to faff about sorting childcare and struggling to fit in family time and leisure stuff but everyday thousands across the UK take responsibility for their lives and their families (including myself for many years whilst I worked up the greasy ladder at work) and I’m proud that the tax credits exist to support these families (not to mention the Lib Dem tax cut on the first 12K). I disagree that forcing Governments to implement a living wage Would solve the need to top up wages because forcing companies to implement a living wage would just result in them employing less resulting in more people on benefits and reducing the economic activitiy of businesses which also contribute to the states kitty.
Furthermore I’m not against one person working families. It seems plausible for families to bring up their own children and we should support flexible working and the like to facilitate this. I believe good parenting leads to good adults in the future so if mum and dad want to work part-time or dad/mum want to stay at home then this shouldn’t be an issue. Nobody says it but childcare providers are not unlike the landlords making a pocket out of housing benefit. Childcare providers are cashing in knowing most charges are covered by the childcare element of tax credits. There,I have said it!
I know what you are thinking, you are reading this I love benefits blah, blah, blah. There must be a BUT coming up. And you’re right. There is a but. The leftist elite at the Guardian who pop into a food bank once and decree the deprived condition of the poor don’t tell the full story. I grew up on a council estate. I live in an ex mining community where everything is the fault of Margaret Thatcher. Labour controlled my shit hole during the miners strike and continuously since but it’s still all the Conservatives fault. Labour’s manifesto here could be to kill your kids and they would still get in. Yet, these guys are more shrewd then people give them credit for. The leftist media might like to portray them as victims, as a little bit thick, as abandoned by the elite but it’s simply not true. As the Guardian would discover if it lived here day in day out instead of sending an Oxford educated Home Counties born middle class journalist for half an hour for a photo shoot with the “deprived”. Yes the vast majority are hard working. On a commuter train route into Leeds, the morning trains fill up with many Heading to a variety of employment types. Yes , many want the best for their children and play an active part in such. Equally however there are a significant number who abuse the system. Our political elite seem to find it acceptable to use “scrounger” rhetoric to describe immigrants but it seems to have come a taboo to separate those who are using benefits as a safety net in hard times or for good reasons (such as actual disability that restricts or prevents work) from those who are taking the piss.
There are people who have never worked in their life. They have council homes (absolutely nothing wrong with social housing, I’m not sure why the British are obsessed with owning!) which they have never paid a penny of rent on (there is something wrong with this). They have never contributed a penny to national insurance, to council tax. They have children. Lots of children. Starting a whole new generation of scroungers whose role-model parenting leads them into the same life dependent on the state, having children who in turn have a life dependent on the state. This same pattern reproduced across so many Labour strongholds in the North of England.
People bemoan the “unfair” ATOS checks and if people who need and should get support are not getting what they need then these fit-to-work assessments are a huge injustice because I know of people who are enjoying a life on disability benefit,free vehicle and the right to park dangerously wherever they like with a blue badge when by there own admission there is no reason why they couldn’t work. I know someone who pulls out a walking stick for his periodic assessment yet makes money on the side doing heavy lifting and deliveries in his mobility estate car despite his “bad-back”.
People scoff at the idea of “belittling” those on benefits by making them work for benefits but consider this? If benefits are the equivalent of 12 hours employment at just above minimum wage, would it be wrong to ask a single mum to work 10-2 three weekdays each week in a library or in another local service if it fits around childcare issues etc?
People criticise the idea of benefit sanctions for missing appointments and whilst I appreciate the jobworths with little man/ little woman syndrome who work here. I once tried at job centre when I was looking for a better job. They have got to be the worst places in the UK conducive to finding a job. Equally as I found out when interviewing at the job centre in Torquay once they are full of people playing the system presenting themselves as unemployable. It is not fair sanctioning someone who is at a job interview. Again I suspect the Guardian will pick up a case of this happening to someone unemployed the result of the recession and desperate to return to work, and run a story on how the deprived are treated! Equally though if you have to be at the job centre for ten minutes just once a fortnight to guarantee your benefit you would take responsibility and just be there. As an employee I have places I have to be and face action if I’m not there. It’s called the real World!
And don’t get me started on drug/alcohol addiction being a valid reason for disability benefit…..
I anticipate people who really need or really l deserve our help struggle to get it whilst instead the political correct brigade and leftie lefties in their ivory towers defend the indefensible and paradoxically are to blame for the issues of inequity in our welfare system! Our welfare system should be fair and equitable. It should reward work at its core whilst providing a safety net to all, supporting the vulnerable but clamping down on those abusing it. This clearly isn’t happening.