The Government has been accused of stigmatising benefits claimants…*Yawns* What now?
… after a new system restricting the way they spend welfare money was unveiled at the Conservative Party Conference.Oh..? *perks up*
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the so-called ‘smartcard’ scheme would see benefit payments loaded onto prepaid cash cards. Transactions would be automatically stopped if people tried to buy anything on them but essentials. This would prevent people from purchasing alcohol, cigarettes or spending money on gambling, in a system Mr Duncan Smith claims will help lift families "on the margins" out of poverty because their benefits would not be spent on addictions.What a fantastic idea! How about blocking ready meals & sweets, as well? Make it available only for fresh fruit & veg, meat and fish, and essential cleaning products and toiletries.
However, the cards were criticised by the single parents’ charity Gingerbread, who said they could encourage negative sterotypes.Really? How?
Commenting on the scheme, Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said: “The pre-paid benefit cards announcement capitalises on and reinforces negative stereotypes of people who need support from benefits. “Single parents, both in and out of work tell us they are struggling financially, but budgeting isn’t the problem: low wages, benefit cuts and rising costs of the essentials are.”If budgeting isn’t a problem, then the cards won’t make any material difference to them, will they?
A Lib-Dem source told the Evening Standard the party had blocked his proposals on two occasions.Third time’s the charm!
The source said: “We are not persuaded of its merits, alongside the principled objection that you should not be stigmatising people and reducing their freedom to spend money as they wish just because they spend some time out of work."No-one’s doing that. Should they get a job & earn their own money, they can do as I do, and spend it how they choose.
But while I’m paying their benefits, it’s not ‘their money’, is it?