This is a follow-on from my previous two blogs. They chart the changes in society since the Second World War and the introduction of the Beveridge Report recommendations.
Mr. Bartholomew’s book “The Welfare State we’re in” reaches the conclusion that welfare benefits have been a bad thing for society. Whilst I accept there he makes a good argument that benefits have not been wholly good, he also acknowledges that in a democracy it would not be possible to remove many benefits now.
Having worked in the charitable Housing Association sector for many years, it has been my experience that many people are in need of welfare support to lead a reasonable life. I am not naive about this, I accept that there are some who take advantage of the system. I also think benefits can remove incentives to work. It is also the case that some poeple are swept into the benefits system unecessarily. But, most people entitled to benefits that I have come across have genuine needs and would much prefer not to be in the situation they are in.
So what’s to be done ? You can’t turn the clock back. Politicians won’t propose things that won’t get them elected in future, so they can only cut things by stealth, e.g. by linking State Pension increases to CPI rather than the Retail Price Index. Or by making things so complicated that people don’t really understand the changes, for example, the announcement of a new much more generous State Pension, which first, only applies to newly retired pensioners and then gets postponed for several years. (You can see this storey by clicking on “ The £155 Pension “ in the Tag Cloud)
Benefits reform needs to be imaginative and offfer advantages to all generations. It needs surgery to the red tape of regulation and bold, off the wall ideas typical of the Last Laugh Looney Party.
See next weeks thrilling episode