Tories: Back to the Workhouse

September 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

oliverThat was the headline in the self-named “intelligent tabloid”  – the Mirror  – this morning. The article claimed that the Conservative Party policy of “Work for Benefits” represented a return to a Victorian welfare state akin to bringing back the workhouse.

Now excuse me….

This is a policy aimed at reducing the amount of money paid by the Government on welfare, which in the year 2011 to 2012 stood at an eye-watering £160.2 billion (thousands of millions). If you (generously) discount the state pension then this leaves a budget of £86 billion, going towards the disabled, incapable, people requiring income support, and the unemployed. Or, to put it another way, the 29.7 million working people in this country are individually contributing an average of £2,896 per annum in benefits to others.

There are some 2.5 million unemployed in this country, of which 1.5 million claim the dole. Of these, some 915 thousand have been out of work for over one year ad 474 thousand for over two years. There are 297 thousand households in this country where no adult has ever worked.

There are currently 516 thousand unfilled vacancies in this country.

None of these people are homeless – unless out of choice or driven to it by other factors. None of these people have been forcibly separated from their family or loved ones. All of these people receive free medical care and education.

This is not Victorian England.

Now, I know that many of the long-term unemployed have particular problems that prevent them from working. Mental health issues, drug and alcohol dependencies, illiteracy to name but a few. But, the Government has policies in place to help those that are ill and to educate those that wish to learn. But, there is also a hard core of people who do not have such problems and are still long-term unemployed. These people may be out of the habit of getting out of bed at a reasonable time, getting on the bus or a bike and being productive for eight hours or so every day. These people may not be able to find the jobs that they want. But….

I work hard for what I have and have not received any state benefit for over twenty five years. I pay a lot of tax. I would prefer to pay less tax. I would prefer not to subsidise the long-term unemployed to stay at home and to make no positive contribution to society.

Now I know that many would object if I were to caricature the modern day Oliver Twist as a bum who lies on his sofa all day, watching Jeremy Kyle and the Real Housewives on his wide-screen plasma TV, knocking back the odd can of Special Brew and  a spliff to take his mind off the brood of illegitimate children he pays no money towards. But…..

This is hardly Dickensian England.

I think a little less rhetoric and political positioning is called for. And a little more realism. People should not be better off not working than working. And, benefits should be there for those that most need them. People who are out of work and who want to work should be given all the support, help and advice available. And, those who choose not to work, should be “encouraged” to do so, or lose their benefits.


Entry filed under: middleman. Tags: , , , , , , .

Ed Miliband’s Resignation Speech How Irritating…..

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. sooocheshire  |  September 30, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Whilst working in a busy, over-stretched, under-resourced NHS dept for over two years very recently, we had difficulties getting unemployed patients to attend our 9 to 10am appointment slots, on the basis that this was too early a get-up for them. In fact, the audacity of suggesting such a time commitment caused reactions ranging from dazed confoundment to sheer indignation at this proposed infringement of their human rights. My colleagues and I, meanwhile, were usually at our posts from 7.45am. Go figure.



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