The latest British Social Attitudes findings, which show that growing numbers of people have swallowed the fiction that benefits levels in the UK are too high, perhaps explain why the government this week feels able to float plans for another round of devastating benefit cuts.Ahhh, yes. Because they couldn’t possibly have come to that conclusion themselves, by having seen first hand the benefit levels, could they?
No, it has to have been the media’s fault…
The furore last year about the fairness of uprating benefits even with the lower CPI measure when average earnings were lagging behind prices was a further piece of political insincerity. What was conveniently obscured in the debate was the fact that for many years, benefits have risen at a significantly lower level than wages.Well, yes. They aren’t a direct comparison to wages. They were never meant to be.
As earnings have raced ahead, this has resulted in a stark disconnect between wages and benefits…Again, yes. They don’t replace a wage, they are there to tide you over, to provide the very basics. That’s all.
The government is presenting the idea of a benefits freeze as a necessary step in order to save an additional £10bn in 2015/16 from a social security budget that is already decimated by £18bn of cuts. And such assaults on the incomes of the poorest are justified by reference to the very social attitudes that this and previous governments have done so much to foment.Do you mean the ‘social attitude’ that it’s better not to sponge off the sweat of others? And referring to benefits as ‘income’ is rather telling, isn’t it?
At the risk of stating the obvious, benefits are already inadequate for basic needs. If an out-of-work family with one child claims their full benefit entitlement, the income they receive provides only 65% of the funds required to live above the poverty line.I’m not going to go into the definition of poverty being used, because we’ve been here so many times before. But if benefits are really ‘inadequate for basic needs’, then I’d suggest that that’s entirely the point! That’s what we want them to be. That way, people won’t spend their whole lives on them.
And maybe people need to re-evaluate just what a ‘basic need’ is…
For those in work and receiving tax credits life is a little better. However, a family with two children and both parents working at the national minimum wage will still only receive an income that constitutes 94% of the amount needed to live a life free of poverty if they take up all the benefits available to them.Hey, here’s an idea. On a minimum wage job? Have one kid. That way, you can afford it!
. The chancellor and his cabinet colleagues must reject this disgraceful proposal, which is just another assault on those living in poverty, shamefully dressed up as a necessary aspect of fiscal austerity. It would cut the poorest families adrift from the rest of society and further batter the coalition's poverty record.The only thing that I can see ‘cutting the poorest families adrift from society’ is their attitude (and that of their cheerleaders and enablers) that society somehow owes them a living.
The Tories in Cabinet view all of us with contemt. The Lib Dems at least appear to be trying to hold them back from what would be an utter disaster for those living on very little.
Perhaps a way forward would be to link benefits to MP's pay and allowable expenses.
Sorry spelling wonky it has been a long night must get to bed.....
"(and that of their cheerleaders and enablers)"
I believe these are the real problem, the Wormtongues who over the last 15+ years have been telling "the poor" they're entitled to other people's money.
They're no different to the slime that work in the race industry.
And if any attempts were made to genuinely help the worse off, I think these people would fight it tooth and nail in order to keep their own cushy jobs (a quick look at Garnham's bio seems to show she's never held a real job, and if I wasn't going to take the high-ground I might point out she looks like she's probably been a man at some point in her life).
Andrew said:" They're no different to the slime that work in the race industry."
Too right like our local Diversity Loon who wants to turn yet another English city into a facsimilie of the Islamic Republic of Luton
These socialist cretins want there to be lots of dependent poor people, after all that's what gives them their living.
Quite frankly if I ever get the opportunity to meet one of these useless bastards,I will tell them to f**k off and stop playing around with peoples lives. Some troll in the Telegraph comments section noted that tax was a break on the economy. What they didn't realise is the level of tax taken to fund benefits would if stopped fund a boost to the economy and fund new jobs. The down side is people like Graham would have as much to complain about.
Benefit farming: a service to the underclass which keeps an awful lot of smug people with mediocre qualifications in righton subjects in secure employment, simultaneously protecting them from anthing so grubby as being net producers.
I clicked on the link, is that a woman?
Alison Garnham is Ernst Stavro Blofeld and I claim my £5
"What was conveniently obscured in the debate was the fact that for many years, benefits have risen at a significantly lower level than wages. "
Is that true of housing benefit?
It is certainly not true of the hidden benefit of a council house compared to private renting/ buying.
Benefits should enable a minimum standard of living, so I've got no problem with
a) them not being linked to wages OR 'a poverty line' based on (last time I looked) 60% of median wages.
b) them being increased by the rate of inflation EVEN IF WAGES AREN'T INCREASING. They're supposed to provide a minimum standard, so they should rise with inflation.
I can see why people are peeved, seeing benefits rise while wages are static, but IF the levels are correctly set, they should not be frozen unless the Government finds some way of freezing the cost of living. I'm not sure that printing money is the way to do that.
ps - housing benefit is a different matter. HB is creating millionaire landlords. It's amazing that proposals to restrict it to £400 a week - equivalent to a £30,000+ pre-tax wage - are in any way controversial. I'd quite like a flat in London - but I can't afford one.
(Prepares to be severely "flamed") ...
The idea that benefits only go to people out of work (usually of course "to those who refuse to work") is wholly false. Working Tax Credits anyone? Care to guess where on the "benefits spending league table" WTC is?
(Stands by for someone to claim "it isn't a benefit and should not be confused with "welfare" ....)
That said, people like Alison Garnham get right up my nose too. With, ahem, "friends and supporters" like her convincing anyone that a proper fair and equitable safety net welfare system is a sign of a civilised society, and should be seen as a positive and not, as is increasingly the case following Labour's decision to demonise "welfare" and the present Grand Alliance carrying on the same demonisation with gusto, some terrible blight without which everyone would be (sic "better off" becomes nigh on impossible ...
"The system is designed to create dependancy; it is much easier to control those who need."
"The Tories in Cabinet view all of us with contemt."
I think you could easily replace the word 'Tories' with 'politicians' and still be correct..
"I believe these are the real problem, the Wormtongues who over the last 15+ years have been telling "the poor" they're entitled to other people's money."
Hard to disagree.
Indeed, and the first rule of farming? Keep your livestock well fed, that it may increase.
"It is certainly not true of the hidden benefit of a council house compared to private renting/ buying."
"...but IF the levels are correctly set, they should not be frozen unless the Government finds some way of freezing the cost of living."
I'd like to see a breakdown of just what this 'cost of living' entails - warm, comfortable shoes yes, latest designer trainers, no!
"The idea that benefits only go to people out of work (usually of course "to those who refuse to work") is wholly false. Working Tax Credits anyone? "
Yup, another wheeze designed to support a huge state apparatus.
if you are prepared to work with the elderly, you can just walk into any recruitment office in the high street and the job's yours. Of course this means it attracts some um below-par people but you can't have everything.
(It can be very rewarding, by the way, if you can overlook certain things - like the heartbreaking fact that their relatives (usually middle class) don't seem to give two hoots about them. Your clients will be walking novels, ready to open and read.
"Of course this means it attracts some um below-par people but you can't have everything."
Rigorous oversight would resolve that. Sadly, that's expensive.
"hidden benefit of a council house"
Very few of those remaining. Loads of housing associations though. Rents in social housing are about 75% of private housing. housing benefit has been cut everywhere, not just in London. Nowhere pays 100% now, the median is just over 90%. Same for council tax benefit (soon to be replaced).
The LARGEST state benefit (yes it is) is the state pension, dwarfing all other benefits. Nibbling at the corners (which is what the "cuts" are) is not going to disguise the problem of falling tax revenues, both income and consumer taxes, and outgoings exceeding income.
Quite simply a massive proportion of government income pays its own employees and their pensions/pension-contribs. That is true of both local and national government. The NHS PFI scandal, which is what it is, will bankrupt the NHS (that part that remains) in the near, and far, future. Blame both labour and conservative for that continuing festering financial scam/sore.
It is mandatory to have rigorous oversight concerning those who are employed to care for children or vulnerable adults. Rigorous as in an enhanced criminal records bureau check.
Back to benefits....and I cannot help but mention those in receipt of the 37 billion/year benefit......tax relief on pension contributions. Something to ponder because the pension industry makes so little money a year, and charges so much for doing it.
"hidden benefits of a council house"
Not so hidden. The right to buy policy was Thatcher's flagship policy. It was designed to facilitate social mobility and create working class Tories and it often worked. Before the Thatcher administration 49% of the population were housed by the council. My uncle was a fireman and he and his family had no problem getting a council house. That was what they were designed for: working men and their families.
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