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Out of touch

Published by Anne Rowlands on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 at 09:24 am

After George Osborne’s announcement that a majority Conservative government would be looking to make welfare benefit savings of £10 billion by the first full year of the next Parliament, I am beginning to wonder whether there will be a welfare state left!

The Tories’ plan to cut housing benefit for the under-25s would be particularly disastrous and only discourage mobility and increase homelessness.

Mr Osborne talks about not being able to justify giving flats to young people who have never worked, but what about the people who want to work but can’t find jobs or those who were working but are now unemployed as a result of the austerity cuts?

It will be fine for children who have had a settled life and can return home to live with their parents, but what about those who have come from the care system, for example, and may have no-one to turn to?

It also worries me that the Government hasn’t considered the impact this would have alongside the recent introduction of the bedroom tax. You could very easily have a situation where a couple downsize to a smaller property to avoid paying extra for a spare bedroom, only to discover their child, family member or friend need to move in with them due to their housing benefit being cut.

I think this is just another case of policies being made by those from privileged backgrounds who are not in touch with reality and are operating under a misguided belief that it is the rich who are subsidising the poor.

At the weekend the Sunday Times revealed that more than half (53.4%) of British households make no contribution to the state because the benefits they receive outweigh their tax payments.

This is not because we are a nation of scroungers but because people can’t find work in the current economic climate, or are doing jobs that pay so little they need support from the State.

Perhaps in the long run we really are looking at an end to the Welfare State in its current form and who knows we may then have to rely on the support of philanthropists that were so prevalent in Victorian times. Will it really come to that?


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