Britain’s so-called benefit culture (a term mostly used by conservative politicians and journalists, I think, and not really generally recognised to be part of British culture) is said to cost approximately £60…80bn per year.
Since the Chancellor of the Exchequer is short on money these days, and keen on making popular move to huge media fanfare, politicians such as Ian Duncan Smith give us the same nonsense that we heard for ages again and again already:
Tough measures are required to prevent fraud, they say. Fair enough, I say. Serious punishment of fraudsters and benefit cheats is another popular request, and, since those high earners making these suggestions know best how it is to live on the breadline, cuts and reductions to the benefit system are also a common suggestion.
Crucial is of course not the nonsense that is suggested, but what is not suggested.
You can search long and hard, up and down for a politician who would dare to suggest increased investment into benefit and welfare programs. Maybe not by way of direct cash payout, but surely those in need for help primarily need help to help themselves. These are the things a government is supposed to specialize in: Create jobs. Create incentives to recruit people. Provide infrastructure that enables people to go to work: affordable public transport or affordable quality daytime child care come to mind.
First of all, it seems we need to invest and buy our politicians some common sense, and the decency to be a government for the people, for all of them, rather than govern their own careers.
I think you heard this lament before. This won’t be the last time though.