Have you noticed how modern career politicians love to label everyone and everything? The Coalition are now using this technique as a weapon to get votes. Should you be one of the millions of people out of work and claiming some sort of Welfare Benefit you will be pleased to discover that you now have a new label. You have become, wait for it! “THE FECKLESS”. In other words, you are viewed as and, I quote; ‘lacking purpose or vitality, feeble, ineffective, careless or, irresponsible.’
According to the well informed Mr Heffer, of Daily Mail fame, the amount of money directed to those who stubbornly refuse to work is still far too high. His outrage on this subject knows no bounds for he goes further, adding; ‘a shockingly large amount of that money is squandered by many recipients, rather than being used to provide essentials for their families.’
Hang on though, surely once the money has passed from treasury (DWP) to recipient, the money belongs to the recipient doesn’t it? As for rent and Local Authority Council Tax this comes under the umbrella of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and is normally administered by the local authority in whose area the property being rented lies. In other words, Housing Benefit is administered by the district or borough council layer of local government. This is the council responsible for the billing of Council Tax.
Yes, there are those in society who abuse the System just as there are those who rob banks and steal cars. One is no better than the other however, I would contest the ‘Establishment’ assertion that all Benefit Claimants are the same. It is all to easy to have this view and it makes policy easy to administer if every claimant is lumped into the same category. ‘Means testing’ is only as effective as the honesty of the claimant and the diligence of the Authority.
There is a much bigger picture here. Starving people into low-paid work is not the answer. In most cases it is demeaning and an insult to the intelligence of the person being forced into work. Of course there are people out there to whom work, of any kind, is anathema. They are not the majority and, quite rightly, should be targeted and stripped of any Welfare Benefit until they can prove that they want to be a willing participant in society and not a pariah living on the fringes and benefitting from the work of others. Harsh, but better than targeting the old, the infirm and genuine claimants. Iain Duncan Smith is getting a lot of praise from the Westminster elite for bringing down the Welfare bill. I would contend that this man is the worst kind of politician. He basks in the glory of inculpation. Whether you are disabled, old, genuinely jobless,(probably because of Coalition cuts) as soon as you make a claim on the State you are considered ‘feckless’. People who know me and those who regularly read my blog know that I am not a ‘Lefty’. Neither do I aspire to any of their ridiculous policies. However, I am intelligent enough to know that the Welfare State in its present form is not sustainable. As a responsible member of society it is up to each individual to provide for themselves and their families. Should they genuinely not be able to do so, due to circumstances beyond their control, then they should be able to rely on the benevolence of society- the State – as a whole to help them. To do this, the Welfare State has to be fit for purpose and not used as a stick to punish those unfortunates who fall under its shadow.
Rather than improving the Welfare State, Duncan-Smith wants to regulate the people who rely on it. He wants to demean them even more by taking the advice of the left-leaning think tank, DEMOS. Their answer is to follow the example set by Bill Clinton’s administration in America and introduce pre-paid cards which would be pre-programmed to buy only food and household goods. So, in one fell swoop, Duncan-Smith will force thousands of people to stop smoking and drinking because they will not be allowed to use Benefit money to purchase those items and he would also get much kudos from his chinless comrades in Parliament for cutting down the NHS bill. This is not new to this country, several county councils have followed suit. Not surprisingly Duncan-Smith is all for this idea and he will promote it by saying that it is a way of controlling how taxpayers money is spent. Hang on though, the DWP has identified less than 5% of claimants as being “disingenuous”, which surely means that 95% of claimants have paid into the System, are responsible citizens and it becomes their money by default as they were “taxpayers” when they paid it in so they are therefore, entitled to get some unfettered assistance. I realise that due to Labour policy and EU Regulations – which this Coalition has not rescinded or challenged – Welfare money is being claimed by foreign nationals who have not paid one penny into the System and also by those “better off” who have left this country to set up home on the Continent and these would have to be taken out of my 95% example; it does’t alter the fact that once again Duncan-Smith is tarring everyone with the same brush. Is this what the Tories mean by ‘In it together’?
Heffer calls opposition to these cards a bovine attitude. He believes that we should be harnessing technology to ensure that Welfare money is not spent on drink, slot machines or drugs. He thinks that it is a vote winner. He also believes that it would send out a message to the unemployed that if they want money to pay for things other than essentials, they should earn the money by getting a job. How short sighted, apart from the scarcity of suitable well-paid jobs I bet that if this were to be introduced across the country with all of the regulation required to make it work. Crime would soar, retailers forced by Law to adhere to the system would be frightened to trade and there would be a greater likelihood of trouble on the streets. How can this government sanction Draconian measures like this against the poorest and weakest in society when they blatantly ignore the Law of the land themselves when it comes to one of their own flouting the system by blatantly stealing from the taxpayer? Yes, they need to get the Welfare System fit for purpose but may I suggest that they get their own house in order first!