People taking part in today’s national day of action against welfare reforms are taking offence where none is intended.
The reforms aren’t directed at people in temporary need who are doing their best to find work.
They’re not aimed at people who will always require assistance nor at those who are already looking after their children well.
It’s aimed at people who could work and don’t and at those who take money for their children but don’t care and provide for them as they should.
I have only second-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be brought up in a family where parents don’t put their children first, ensure they have the health care they need and make the most of opportunities for education.
This correspondent to The Listener (not on-line) has first-hand experience:
I wish the Government had introduced the new conditions for receiving a benefit when I was a child (Politics, September 22). Then maybe I wouldn’t have had a childhood plagued with preventable illness, illness that has continued to affect me into adulthood.
Perhaps I would have gone to school. Maybe even learnt to value education and understood what it meant for my future. Maybe i would have stayed at school and gone on to university. Moved up the socio-economic ladder. Perhaps I would have felt someone cared about what happened to me.
Unless you’ve lived the life, you don’t understand it. Beneficiaries are in a different category of citizen. they lose themselves in the day-to-day dysfunction and chaos of their lives; their children’s health and welfare are often not a priority.
All the doo-gooders out there tut-tutting about the Government’s decision need to get a reality check. When it comes to a taxpayer-funded benefit, the rights of the parents don’t come into it. the priority should always be the health and welfare of the children.
This is one woman’s experience. It doesn’t mean that all beneficiaries don’t make their children a priority but it does show why there is a need to ensure that the right to a benefit is balanced by the responsibility to look after the children for whom at least some of the money is given.