Cap Welfare And End Dependency

Natalie Dinham says the Government is right to cap welfare payments.

Over the last week, we have seen welfare reforms come into effect. The basis for these reforms is embedded upon the comparison between the welfare income and the working income. Why should people who choose not work, earn more than those who do contribute to society?

The welfare reforms now allow a cap on the amount a person, or couple, may claim in times of hardship. The cap prevents people living solely on Government welfare support as a lifestyle choice. In order to claim the full amount of £26,000 of state benefits, a working person must be earning at least £35,000 per year. One can clearly see there is still a disparity amongst these figures.

What the Government is trying to do is to stop the welfare wage increasing at a faster rate than the working wage. Alongside these caps, the Government has stopped the right to claim money for spare rooms within social housing. Again, why should people who choose not to work have the luxury of accommodation that those working people simply cannot afford?

The main  argument against abolishing the spare room subsidy is that there is not enough social housing available for people to transfer to. Thus, more social housing needs to built and a radical reform of planning laws need to be introduced to enable more affordable housing to be built more efficiently and cost effectively.

The Government’s welfare caps are justifiable because we all have a moral duty to contribute to society. Along with rights, come responsibilities.  Many oppose such reforms on the misguided basis that they have a ‘right’ to state help.

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Previously, one could have had an endless number of children and claim an endless sum of state money to provide for these children – there was no limit on the amount of welfare benefit. People held the notion that this was perfectly acceptable. This derives from the socialist policies put in place to govern a contract between the state and its peoples which remains firmly embedded within today’s society. Many people still desire an easy ride in life.

The welfare state largely derives from the post war Labour/Beveridge era when the United Kingdom was in a very different position from today. Previously, welfare was born out of a socialist view of conformism, whereby if the state provided jobs, housing, employment, education, healthcare etc, then the working class would be contented with their position in life. Today, this school of thought can still be found within many people’s notions of what one can ‘get’ out of the welfare system, what their entitlement and needs are.

But times have changed since 1945. There is now no place for such dependence upon state control and state welfare.

These social welfare reforms may be radical, but they are needed in order to stabilise and better the people and future of our country. All one has to do is look at the recent catastrophic events concerning Mick Philpott. Here, the welfare payments for his children went directly into his bank account. He was at risk of losing the said payments and so concocted a plot to gain custody of his children and therefore gain the monetary incentives that came along with it.

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Mr Philpott’s actions had devastating consequences. Yet, if he were not so reliant on state welfare support and living within such a depraved socio-economic surrounding, would he have felt the need to commit such a wrong? Granted, he is an extreme case and should not be used as a ‘scape goat’ by the Government for all that is wrong within our society and for the economic plight of our country.

Government spending must be reduced. Around 30% of all tax payers’ money goes on the welfare state. The present Government are not victimising the disadvantaged in society – rather, they are trying to educate them into realising that they can and must support themselves. Welfare payments should only be a last resort. It was never intended to be something that one may live off. It would be immoral for the Government to scrap state welfare altogether, as its purpose it to support those who are unable to work due to disabilities or those who have fallen upon hard times.

Lady Thatcher was a radical whom, along with Hayek, brought about the need for independent thought and the want to better one’s position in life. This was all based on capitalism and self reliance – the self made man. It was no longer about what the State could do for me, but more about what one can do to help oneself and others around you.

However, freedom can never be an absolute; it must come with some constraints, some state intervention. Otherwise systematic failings will occur, as is evident from the 2008 global financial crisis.

Belief in freedom and a smaller state, allowing people to keep as much of what they have earned for themselves as is viable, lower taxes, educating people, not telling people how to live their lives, respecting that individuals, families and communities know better than the state what is best for them.

Well, how does reliance on welfare enable people to stand on their own two feet? It does not. The only way to end discontentment, to end financial ruin and to attain freedom from Government is to become self sufficient, responsible and to work and provide for oneself and one’s family. This is the only way to save our country and our way of life.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that a murderous, wife-beating child-murderer who had the legitimate IN-WORK benefits of his partners diverted into his own bank account, and forced himself upon them for the purpose of producing a squad of children – and therefore the legitimate child benefits accorded to the WOMEN but, again ‘stolen’ by him – has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with 99.9% of benefit recipients. That, as others before you have disingenuously or malevolently done, Natalie, sullies an otherwise workmanlike piece on the problem of rights and responsibilities. Disappointing.

  2. You rather weaken this column with the reference to Thatcher at the end. Whatever her ideology said, the numbers of people who were long-term unemployed or on disability benefits drastically increased under her government. I do agree that getting people off benefits and into work is a good aim (though I’m undecided whether a crude benefit cap is the best way to do it), but Thatcher apparently didn’t.

  3. Don’t overlook the fact the £26,000 p.a. Cap on a single household’s Welfare Entitlements only applies where the claimants are “unemployed”. Households, where the claimants are “employed”, can still potentially, dependent on their precise individual circumstances, continue to receive more than £26,000 p.a. in benefits on top of their earned income; this is because they, along with “disabled” claimants, fall into the Cap’s Exemption Category.

  4. Great piece Natalie! Welfare has certainly far outstretched its original mandate for helping out those in need – it has become a lifestyle choice for thousands. While I would not blame Mick Philpott’s actions on the welfare state itself, it is certainly true that welfare enabled him to live in a certain way and allowed him to foster a controlling and vindictive attitude.

    • Thank you for your acknowledgement Andrew, yes, Mick Philpott’s actions were a result of his dependency on the state to provide for his lifestyle. His motives, were led by money and caused the horrific loss of those childrens lives. Although, this case is an anomaly within everyday life, many people harbour such attitudes regardless of what social standing they may hold.

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