Does anyone really believe that long term benefit dependency is good for either the people receiving them or society?
Judging from the howls of anguish which have met the release of the Welfare Working Group’s summary paper some people do otherwise they wouldn’t be so upset at the prospect of addressing the problem.
Nobody is suggesting that benefits shouldn’t be available to offer short term assistance for people in temporary need. Nor is anyone suggesting people who are unable to work because of health issues or other circumstances beyond their control should not get long term assistance.
The problem is people who could work to support themselves and don’t.
They’re the ones, which Garrick Tremain portrayed so well, taking welfare not as a safety net but a hammock.
I can remember reporting on second generation beneficiaries nearly 30 years ago, by now some families must have the third or even fourth generation on benefits.
One of the reasons people choose state asistance rather than work is, as Lindsay Mitchell points out, they get more money than thy could earn in wages.
It must be galling for people on in low-paid work to know that some of the tax which comes out of their pay contributes to keeping people who get more in welfare than they earn.
There are no quick and easy solutions to the problem, but economic growth will help. More better paid jobs would ensure those in work are better off than they’d be on benefits.