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Does the welfare system need reform?

09:15 UK time, Thursday, 17 February 2011

Ministers have revealed plans to reform the current welfare system including a new "universal credit". Will this tackle the "benefit culture"?

There will also be new sanctions for claimants who turn down jobs as well as a cap on benefits paid to a single family.

Supporters of the overhaul claim that the current system actively discourages claimants from looking for work or those on low-paid jobs from increasing their hours. However, critics say that vulnerable people could be left worse off.

Does the current system encourage people to act irresponsibly? Are you receiving benefits? Would the changes encourage you back into employment? Do you work in the welfare system? Are you a benefits advisor?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 27

  • Comment number 1.

    This is going to cost £2 billion and give people exactly the same amount of money for breeding, as before - so frankly IMHO its a load of rubbish, Labour and Conservative all the same good at doing sweet nothing!

    They should be upping the starvation minimum wage!

  • Comment number 2.

    It's over complicated and it should be a safety net for those in need and not a career choice for those who are capable of working but don't want to.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hehe, A quick glance through the archives will reveal this question (or a variant of) asked several times in the past few months, once in these exact words! Ah well it'll please everyone complaining on the brits thread that they've now got somewhere to go throw their "loony left" "rabid right" insults around :)

    For the record, yes it does need reform but not half as much as the tax system, benefit fraud is a teensy tiny amount of money lost when compared to the huge amount that disappears from these shores every day. I'd suggest you can't shaft the poor people without shafting the rich ones too (close the bloomin loopholes already!), because "we're all in this together".... aren't we?.....oh.

  • Comment number 4.

    The "benefit culture" is there because, putting aside the small minority who refuse to work, people cannot live on the wages they are paid.

    Wages for the majority in this country are far too low compared to the cost of living, and they do not rise with inflation.

    I recently lost my job due to redundancy, I have yet to find work and I fear for the future financially, that should not be the way one has to live.

    Do something about the jobs market, do something about the very poor low wages offered by employers, who expect people to work their backsides off 40hrs a week, and then you will tackle the "benefits culture".

  • Comment number 5.

    I listen to Iain Duncun Smith this morning when he mentioned 5.5 million people out of work (not 2.4 unemployed). This in my eyes equates to almost 10% of population.

    Welfare reforms - what a load of tosh. Same old speeches with tweeks here and there. No real change is on its way.

    Lets look at getting people into work! there must be jobs, but government are cutting back jobs. They want private employers to nurse these people back to work - never going to happen as private sector is about profits first and service second. Employee wlefare about 95 down the list.

    So to get these peope really off benefits we have to increase public sector service jobs (ie. park wardens, More police officers, more police community police officers/city security personnel, more street cleaners) this would get these people into work. Not only will it get people off work, it will also enhance a greater british society and perhaps bring back a little much needed community spirit.

    Lets be fair, people do need an incentive to work, and that incentive is no work no money! However if there is no work available then how can we reform welfare system.

  • Comment number 6.

    This is a continuation of Labour policy.

    But the Condem sham may find out that their will be that many people on the dole because of their policies, that no amount of reform will help them.

    The real agenda the Tories have has yet to surface.

  • Comment number 7.

    I agree that those who are fit to work should (if they can actually find a job) but those like myself who are disabled partly due to prescribed medication should not be left in limbo wondering if we will have our benefits slashed. I cannot now walk without falling over and endure the most horrendous pain despite being on maximum pain relief so you can perhaps imagine how I feel not knowing. Its time someone told the truth to the genuinely disabled

  • Comment number 8.

    I know of someone who applied for benefits in early January, they have a serious disability and tried to work self employed at home due to their issue not letting them get out the house. They were promised it would be ok and easy to return to benefit if all didnt work out. The home work DIDNT work out and they have still received nothing, except for threatening bills.

    The MIS-INFORMATION they received by jobcentre & benefits service is just simply cast aside.

    TRY LIVING WITHOUT AN INCOME FOR 4 or more weeks.

    The Tory 1979 Election campaign showing queues of jobless NEEDS to be publicly updated to show the queues of people sitting at home waiting in queues on the phone & waiting for the post to arrive, which never comes.

    Yes changes NEED to be made, but as ALWAYS it is the DESERVING WHO ARE AT THE BRUNT END and TURNED INTO STATE VICTIMS.


    AS I have said previously, there is SO MUCH incompetance in governments going forward but in RETREAT as with DUNKIRK or wherever, the VICTIMS of policys are basically just COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

  • Comment number 9.


    Does the welfare system need reform?

    YES! When we say 'poor' in this country what do we mean? Because, my definition of 'poor' would elevate most in the UK to millionaire status.

  • Comment number 10.

    Is "universal credit" the new name for "family tax credit"?

    I don't know much about the benefits system, but a possible 26k does seem like a deterrent from looking for a job.

  • Comment number 11.

    The government does not seem to have a consistent policy. One moment they are claiming everyone has to work until they are even older before they become entitled to a pension and getting the gullible to praise that policy; despite news stories showing young people can not find jobs. Yet now they use a stick to try to get more folk presently on welfare to get jobs that clearly aren't there, or which offer insufficient pay or conditions. They need to make their mind up.

    No one wants to fund those deliberately playing the system but there are many who would like a decent job but get no decent offers, and others who have given up due to continual disappointment in their search.

    All good intentions no doubt, but easier to hit those on welfare when you're in well paid privileged employment than to find a way to provide jobs and properly encourage those who would benefit from taking them.

  • Comment number 12.

    The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.

  • Comment number 13.

    Does the welfare system need reform?

    YES! When we say 'poor' in this country what do we mean? Because, my definition of 'poor' would elevate most in the UK to millionaire status.
    ========================================================================

    Everything is relative though. If I lived in a society where you have to work till the beginning of July each year just to pay your various tax obligations, and then until end Sept just to make mortgage payments on a house which is owned by the bank, and then you lose your job but find that you have no welfare safety net for several months because the system is only geared for the truly helpless and hopeless - despite you having paid prodigious tax for 30 years thinking this system was also fot you - I'd say you also qualify as poor. And entitled to think there should be welfare reform.

  • Comment number 14.

    When we get rid of the idea that benefits are a "right " or an "entitlement " then maybe the system can be changed. Nobody has a right to benefit, it is a gift from the taxpayer to help the poor, and the taxpayer has the right to withdraw this gift if the need arises. Too many people take from the system because they are too lazy or self indulgent to work. Benefit should only be paid to the sick and those unfortunate enough to have lost their job or who are incapable of working. Where living on benefit is part of a lifestyle, it should be withdrawn. Alcoholism , obesity , drug addiction or being a single mother should not be a qualification for living on benefits.

  • Comment number 15.

    As someone has said above, the problem isn't the benefits system. Look at the real benefits cost breakdown and the largest slice of it goes to Tax Credits. Do you know what Tax Credits are? they are a top up of wages for people that work FULL TIME. That is people that go to work, day in day out and still can't even afford to live!.

    The wage levels in this country are a joke - the average wage is £25k but only 20% of people earn that and above with the rest earning below.... stop bashing the people on benefits when the biggest bill is tax credits propping up people that work full time and still can't afford to live. It's a travesty of the biggest order that on one hand we take 30% of our salaries away and then have to give that 30% back because people can't live on what we leave them.

    and don't try to spin it, because that is the real truth as unpalatable as it may be. Successive governments have made their own bed by doing nothing to manage the cost of living and as a result have to artificially keep the figures up by using tax money to subsidise full time workers.

    (and I earn twice the average wage so don't call me a scrounger, let's all just open our eyes and start making a difference to every ones lives instead of feathering our own nests).

  • Comment number 16.

    It apppears that whatever the rules and regulations, that there is alway a way around them, that the hard core will find. It's the innocent claimants that I feel sorry for, treated as leppers, and get all the blame and brickbats.

    For those who are genuinely unemployed, or have just lost their job, the reforms might be justified if there was full employment, and plenty of vacancies around, to get back into work. But there isn't, and this is where the whole notion goes up the creak.

  • Comment number 17.

    It most definitely needs overhauling. But I'm worried that it is this particular government that is undertaking the overhaul (Labour should have done it years ago). People will have legitimate reasons to turn down jobs. Why take up a job as a labourer if you have a law degree?

  • Comment number 18.

    Stunningly obvious that it needs reform. We need to fairly separate "can't" and "won't". "Can't" should be helped more, and "won't" not at all.

    Why is it so difficult to square up minimum wage, tax allowances and benefits? The issue with minimum wage is not that it's too low per se but that it's taxed excessively.

    The ultimate farce is that we have the young working couple at no 22 discussing whether they can afford to have a child and the benefit household next door discussing whether they can afford not to. The danger being the creation of a vast voter bloc whose only electoral motivation is who'll pay them the most benefit.

    Clearly also it has to "pay" to go to work. We have a million foreign nationals working in the UK because our tax & benefit system enabled our own million citizens to opt not to take those jobs. So we pay our own to do nothing and pay the incumbents to do the job after which most of the cash is shipped out of the UK economy. The economics of the lunatic asylum.

  • Comment number 19.

    I expect anyone receiving any form of tax payer assistance to thank the tax payers in some way. Public spaces require maintenance. Public buildings require maintenance. The list is endless. Are there any unemployed teachers out there? Unemployed solicitors? You can all help in the Big Society. I work for my money, and I expect people receiving my tax payments money to do the same.

  • Comment number 20.

    I know several people who have been on benefits for years, single perfectly fit men, but they are comfortable living as they are without the need to go and get work. So this clearly isn't right, and needs sorting. However, there are undoubtedly a large number of genuine people who need and should get benefits. But this government will go ahead and make changes that will effect a great many in order to catch a small few.

    Now when it comes to tax evasion, the government are not interested, even though the value of the amount lost to non doms and 'clever accounting' is vastly more than that wasted on benefits cheats. This shows the governments priorities. They will never go after their rich friends (probably would effect themselves too).

    Truth is, all of the parties would do the same, becuase no matter what banner they stand under, Labour or Tory, when they are in power/parliament, their first priority is themselves and their rich mates. They justify this by bleating on that the rich are the wealth generators in this country. No, it is the working man working for lower wages (i.e. no or minimal rises) and less in the way of conditions and benefits (i.e. longer hours, lower pensions, less holiday) that creates all of the wealth in this country. I'd like to see how rich they'd all be without us.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes it needs reform! The current systems are nightmares: JSA, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Training Allowance, Return To Work Credits, In Work Credits, Self Employment Credits, DLA, Carers Allowance. It's all a shambles with very little communication between each group of processors all spread around each region.

    The problem is that they kept on adding to and changing existing structures (in some ways like a well known software producer famous for it over bloated operating systems without starting from scratch).

    I'm sorry but I can't imagine that this will actually be a truely ground up reform of the benefits system (which is what is needed), it's not in the departmental nature.

    Pension Credit came from the Minimum Income Guarantee, which came from Income Support with some seperate rules for pensioners but essentially they are all the same thing.

    They will tweek, they will rename & they will merge but in the end it wont be any different.

    I speak from 10 years experience of the system.

  • Comment number 22.

    just pay the people a proper wage and this sick country will come right,people get a better living wage in most African countries.

  • Comment number 23.

    These days a lot of people choose to be on benefits rather than work 40 or so hours per week and then eke out a miserable living from the proceeds of their efforts - frankly I dont blame them.

    We continually hear of the greed of bankers, of tax avoidance by the rich (which could easily be stopped with legislation), of corruption by politicians etc etc etc. Why should those at the bottom struggle to make ends meet to seemingly provide the champagne lifestyle of the few?

  • Comment number 24.

    This is a bit old hat as we've discussed this before quite recently!
    Yes, we do need to reform all benefits. But I hope this isn't just an excuse to cut back on those people who are really vulnerable or sick.
    By all means go hard on those who've made a career out of claiming, but heaven knows there are precious few jobs around at the moment. So perhaps if those career benefit seekers could be signed-up for Dave's Big Society until paid work becomes available they could help us all out. We must never neglect those in society who really do need help. I could get run over by a bus tomorrow and end up in a wheelchair.
    Yes, reform all the gobbledygook.

  • Comment number 25.

    This is an old chestnut that no one has really be able to tackle. Check out Peter Lilleys speech ‘I have a little list’. What happened to that? Nothing.

    It is a fact that when unemployed households can lead a better life style such that they can afford to have children, Sky, leather settees carpets etc whilst those working cannot then there is something seriously wrong.

    Unfortunately the benefit culture has gone on for too long and was made worse by Thatcher when she used the benefits system to hide the effects of the rapid rise in unemployment caused by the rapid decline of our major industries which devastated large number of communities around the country.

    Since then we have had the job drain where companies have exported jobs abroad and so we now have the situation whereby many communities have two or three generations who have never known work only the benefit culture, a culture which also encouraged them to have more children so as to get more benefits and in many areas this is now resulting in a growing percentage of young people who are unemployed with the current rate for 18 to 24 years running at 20%.

    This is the result of years of Blue and Red political incompetence and failure to provide jobs and unfortunately Camerons cut cut cut mentality in not going to solve it.

    What he should be doing is investing in and creating jobs for the young that will benefit the country as a whole not just the rich shareholders of the big corporates. One such area is to manufacture and install solar panels for those households that need them most but can least afford to buy them. This would also reduce the countries energy needs.

    I will watch these proposed changes with great interest although I think this could be an expensive smoke and mirrors trick to make it appear they are doing something about the problem.

    If I am wrong and they do cut benefits for many then I suspect that as a result crime will rise dramatically and there is a great risk of riots on the scale never seen before in this country.

    It will be an interesting year!

  • Comment number 26.

    I see the usual contributors are first out of the traps awaiting moderation I hope the comments are objective and non-political. With the benefits budget being around £200bn it has eclipsed our ability to pay for it without substantial borrowings. We cannot sustain further borrowings each year any longer and therefore benefits cuts are essential. The system is in need of reform. It is over complicated and open to fraud. My suggestions are
    1.Reducing the amounts paid overall say by 3%
    2.Reviewing who receives what and why
    3.Incentivising people returning to work
    4.Perhaps doing away with all the differing benefits and just have one payment that is assessed and means tested
    5.Advising people on their work options as medical problems may preclude certain types of work
    6.Stepping up the detection and prevention of fraudulent claims

  • Comment number 27.

    No it does not need reform

    what it needs is continuing updating and improving as part of its structure as a living thing does minute by minute

    violent change is injurious to any stucture and should not be political dogma driven

    In any event there should be a mandate from the people to effect any changes... a law should be introduced that makes 2/3 majority an essential pre-requisite before implementation

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Google "Citizen's Income".
    No welfare or state pension. Freedom to study or work as a volunteer if you are thrifty enough.

    Introduce National Service.
    First, interns spend time on camps deprived of mod cons (like electricity, running water) so they learn life's priorities and to appreciate what they have. They then learn to work in otherwise "dead-end" jobs where self-discipline, skills and work ethic can be assessed. Then they progress to appropriate training with more responsible positions. At the end they will be certificated as eminently employable.

    Cheap temporary housing.
    Insulated shipping containers with electricity, water and sanitation. A tenner a week. Save for your mortgage deposit.

    Contraceptive implants.
    Compulsory up to 18 years for anyone who drinks alcohol or takes drugs.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm in receipt of contribution based E.S.A as I had spinal surgery last year. I have been told that this will NOT change where as if I were to claim J.S.A my contributions would only last 6 months before going on to income based. I worked in the pub industry, so going back into that job is out of the question for me. As I'm on contribution E.S.A if I were to go back into education for a change of job prospects I would have to pay the course fees and receive no help for this. This system clearly does not work for people in my situation.

  • Comment number 31.

    IDS.if i understand him correctly it will pay to be in work.i assume those on minimum wage will recieve the new universal credit a supplement to their ernings,if i have understood his policy of it pays to work they
    the unemployed will respond to it in a faverouble way.the problem is at
    the moment there is around 2.5 million unemployed and it is rising,where are the jobs??i hope we do not compound the problem by the rash actions of the condems,please think long and hard on this,let us try by all means to help people,the emphasis on help not punishment.i wonder if this is the wrong time to start this policy????

  • Comment number 32.

    Yes reforms are needed but is this the time to do it when there are hardly jobs around? Somehow I feel the government hasn't got a clue what is on the ground. Oh...I wonder whether there are measures in place where people living at council or housing association do not take advantage of the cheap rent as they rent out their own private property at a commercial rate...and these people are laughing all their way to the banks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Possibly some reforms are needed but the government must not go at this like a bull at a gate as they have with other policies. They need at least, to think things through properly.

    A simple assessment by a non-Doctor using a simplistic questionniare done on a particular day cannot possibly determine whether someone with a chronic condition like MS is fit for work. The very nature of conditions like MS means that people have good and bad days. The opinion of their GP and specialists are vital considerations.

  • Comment number 34.

    "In future, the government is guaranteeing that for every £1 extra people earn, they will be at least 35p better off as a result of being in work."

    Wow, what happens to the other 65p may I ask?

  • Comment number 35.

    The welfare system probably does neet reviewed. But i think the government should be concentrating on bigger things. Like the banking system and how quickly are we going to see real reform there? Or how about the big companies, like Vodaphone, that manage to talk the taxman into paying less than they should actually pay. Billions (British billion) goes elsewhere from this country overseas or trousered into certain individuals pockets.

    Sort that out first before dealing with the relevantly small amount that goes into welfare fraud!

  • Comment number 36.

    12. At 09:51am on 17 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    The task of weaning various people and groups from the national nipple will not be easy. The sound of whines, bawls, screams and invective will fill the air as the agony of withdrawal pangs finds voice.

    =============================
    And its no use whinging about benefit spending and dependency when no jobs are available, and I mean jobs that pay a living wage.

    By all means reform and improve the benefit system but the main drive had to be job creation, and this doesnt mean forcing people into employed poverty.

    Once we have many more decent jobs then by all means pressurize people into taking them.

  • Comment number 37.

    This is just another example of the out-of-touch UK establishment doing what it does best; wasting OUR money.
    The sooner we get electoral reform the better. Then perhaps all these ex-public school toffs will realise just what life is like out here in reality.

  • Comment number 38.

    9. At 09:44am on 17 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:


    Does the welfare system need reform?

    YES! When we say 'poor' in this country what do we mean? Because, my definition of 'poor' would elevate most in the UK to millionaire status.


    The UK government, the European Union and many other countries use 60 per cent of median household income as the poverty 'threshold'.

    http://www.poverty.ac.uk/income_threshold_approach.php

  • Comment number 39.

    If we are to reduce fraudulent claims then apparantly there is no better solution than to use a thief to catch a thief, hence what we need is more ex bankers and MPs working in the benefits fraud office!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    >>5. At 09:41am on 17 Feb 2011, David wrote:
    "I listen to Iain Duncun Smith this morning when he mentioned 5.5 million people out of work (not 2.4 unemployed).

    .. to get these peope really off benefits we have to increase public sector service jobs (ie. park wardens, More police officers, more police community police officers/city security personnel, more street cleaners) this would get these people into work."


    If you have the money to pay for 5.5 million new jobs I'm sure the government would be delighted to hear from you.

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem could be solved quickly and easily. Bring back the much higher taxation rates on the very high incomes, close the tax loopholes increase the minimum wage and reduce taxation for the lower paid. It would cut the benefits bill at a stroke and boost the economy. It goes under the unpopular name of redistribution of wealth. We all know it's long overdue, would benefit the country and would bring back a bit of morality to governing but I can't see this lot doing it.
    Not many in power are interested in the morality of government nowdays. Greed has always been around but now it is justified by being given the labels,incentive and reward. The problem with this arguement is that the incentive and reward are now accepted as a perogative of those at the top. Too many at the bottom of the pile get depressed and demoralised by the struggle to just make ends meet that they give up and sit back. Would any of those at the top go out to work every day, doing what are usually physically hard or boring jobs for a few extra pounds a week?

  • Comment number 42.

    Benefit fraud pales into insignificance compared to corporate fraud so if this is about money then that`s where to start. A vast majority of those on benefits want to work. They have a family to feed and a house to pay for and benefits only cover the bare essentials. If it`s the responsibility of the claimant to look for work it`s the responsibility of the government to produce jobs by good governance and all i can see is unemployment rising (and that`s before public sector cuts hit) and those jobs that have been created are mostly part time. It seems the people have to hold up their end of the bargain while the government can just wash its hands of theirs. You want people in work Mr Cameron, then do what you`re paid for and create the conditions for job creating. Cuts do not do that.

  • Comment number 43.

    Welfare obviously needs reform, its way to over complicated and chiefly benefits those who know how to work the system-this being their only occupation in life.Its a failure if it allows or produces generations who never work and have no incentive to either.
    I personally think the newspaper headlines of benefit claimants getting £30 to £40,000 a year will prove to be largely a myth and an irony of simplifying the system might mean that the billions that go unclaimed-due to the ridiculous complexity of the system-will now be paid out, so the bill is likely to be the same even after ironing out all the faults.

  • Comment number 44.

    Very few real jobs. A lack of training both from the state and from employers. Minimum wage poverty pay often as short term agency work. People hired and fired with no job security. Poor working conditions. Government sacking hundreds of thousands of people from local councils. Companies laying off staff. Companies refusing to employ permanent staff. Banks refusing to invest in British business. Companies outsourcing abroad. No help for people to set up small businesses. Employers recruiting directly from abroad. Dickensian attitude to staff by some employers.

    Stop blaming the unemployed for unemployment. The real issue is about JOBS and TRAINING.

  • Comment number 45.

    The number of jobs, whether part or full-time, are vastly outnumbered by the number of unemployed, and this is likely to be the situation for the foreseeable future. our benefits system needs to take account of this - or risk even more of those with little or no income turning to crime.

  • Comment number 46.

    #17. said ' People will have legitimate reasons to turn down jobs. Why take up a job as a labourer if you have a law degree?'

    I think this attitude is part of the problem. It seems that nowadays we can choose not to work and take state money until we find
    something that we fancy.

    A whole generation truly believes that if they don't 'fancy' it they won't do it. Well I started as a tea girl/filing clerk, it was all I could get in 1981 with 4 million unemployed and having done my stint as a YOP had to be satisfied with it.

    Choice is the scurge of the 21st century. Choose a menial job/choose benefits. Years ago the benefits option would not have even been considered, pride wouldn't allow it. Now people are too proud to wait tables but there is no shame in living off someone else by choice.

    Reform all you like but attitudes need to change first.

  • Comment number 47.

    It most certainly does need reform. Each Monday morning my village Post Office has a queue even before 9 am, always the same families. they withdraw more money on a weekly basis than I earn in a month, they have subsidised housing, the latest gadgets and are very well dressed
    Once they have the money they move into the shop area, buy numerous scratch cards and a large amount of junk food.
    There is one serious flaw to this reform. Many of the people currently receiving these benefits are simply not employable, not becuse they are disabled but no employer could afford to employ someone who was illiterate, did not turn up for work and was not prepared to do a day's work.

  • Comment number 48.

    @34 "Wow, what happens to the other 65p may I ask?"

    I get the impression this is designed purely to fail. You get to keep 35p out of every pound you earn - probably wont cover your busfare to a part time job - assuming the cutbacks leaves you with a bus.
    Then when it fails, remember the bankers threatened to leave the country when faced with a 50% tax - on their taxable earnings in this country, then they will shut down the welfare system completely on the grounds that the workshy were not prepared to help themselves by working for practically nothing.

  • Comment number 49.

    Try getting those that are deliberately doing part time or no work at all becuase they hide under the premise of 'I'm looking after children'
    At 15 I dont think she needs to be at home do you?
    So the reason this happens is because of the likes of the CSA.
    Who make unbelievable judgements about something they know nothing about.

    So the upsot of all of this is, because she claims benefits(and quite a few)and I pay so much due to the pathetic clueless judgement by the CSA she really gets far more than if she had to work herself. 11 years this is been going on and no one questions it, least of all the sexist organization called the CSA.

    So if you want to save money Cammeron there is a huge hole for you to patch. 1/ get rid of the CSA for those that pay and trust worthy and have proven so.
    2/ Bust these women that are screwing the system and their x partners.
    (not heard of blokes doing it but I'm sure there are).

  • Comment number 50.

    What's interesting is just how all but one commentator lacks a basic understanding of the welfare breakdown.

    People talking about cutting X% or reducing this, incentive that and yet failing to see that half the benefits bill is Tax Credits and Child Benefits. FACE IT, we have created a country where working DOESN'T PAY for anybody on the bottom rung.

    So let's all stop bleating on about kicking scroungers out and putting national service in when we could cut 40 billion of the deficit by helping increase wages to actual living levels.

    I started work on 10k PA for a 44 Hour week at 18. that's 640 a week after tax. If I didn't have a friend to live with, what would I have done? I walked 3 miles to work because I couldn't afford to commute.

    I say let's started taxing the well off temporarily until we can increase wage levels at the bottom, and then once we have done that, reverse the process with the higher rate tax dropping to a lower rate and the lower rate tax going up.

    A temporary tax switch to bring up the baseline. One pays for the other at the expense of a long term gain by a future reduced tax rate.

  • Comment number 51.

    When people on HYS demand that the 'fit and able' should have to work, I was wondering, does this include those who are rich? Or just the poor?

  • Comment number 52.

    The comments about low wage levels are absolutely spot on. Minimum wage levels in France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland are all miles higher than the rubbish we have to put up with here.

  • Comment number 53.

    Ten years of Labour has created an insitutionalised benefits entitlement culture. Millions are convinced they've a right to laze about, pay no taxes, get a free house, free council services, payments for having kids, free education, free health care, free living expenses, free TV licence and all the rest of it - all paid for by us.
    The reform has huge public support, because taxpayers simply won't stand for it any more. If we all refused to work, there's be no money and everyone would starve.
    The spokesmen for the benefits industry can squawk as much as they like but there'll be serious taxpayer backlash if the government gets blackmailed into watering down these reforms. If you're fit and able to work, ( and I don't exclude the decade-enduring whiplash, depression and phantom back problem merchants) you work. And if you don't you get nothing. In my experience benefit claimants know every dodge in the book, and if you're going to succeedd in prising them away from the telly and out of the pubs, you're going to have to get seriously tough. And I reckon the country is well ready to see that happen.

  • Comment number 54.

    #32 of course governments don't have a clue. The cabinet is full of rich people who wouldn't know what a council estate was unless they saw it in a magazine.

    I'm 49 years old lived on a council estate for 44 of these years and have never heard of or seen a politician whether local or national on the estates. I think the last one I read of was Heseltine in liverpool back in the 90's and he was shocked by what he saw (apparently) I also get the impression a lot of posters on the BBC sites need to get out more as well!

  • Comment number 55.

    "...which will cost £2.1bn up-front to introduce."

    What an excellent cost cutting measure.

  • Comment number 56.

    v3vi, (15. At 09:57am on 17 Feb 2011)

    Good post - I agree.

  • Comment number 57.

    It will be interesting to see after making all these people take up minimum wage or part time jobs how much the tax credits bill will increase. I suspect this will cost more than it saves.

  • Comment number 58.

    I have no doubt that there are some people in genuine poverty. However, for all those who think "poverty" is not being able to afford their Satellite TV subscription this month and for whom the benefits system has become a career choice should be flown to the slums of Chochi, Adis Ababa or Jakarta in order to witness what true poverty is about.

    As far as benefits are concerned, it's simple. Make the maximum amount of benefit for any individual something less than the minimum wage. From this, the claimant must find their rent, food, council tax, utility bills, transportation costs, holidays and all the other things that those who work have to find. If it is a family unit with non-school age children that need caring for during "working" hours, the equivalent of the average cost of childcare would be deducted. For those for whom this is not enough, recoverable emergency loans, in the form of widely useable food vouchers, should be issued instead of cash to discourage the purchase of non essential items.

  • Comment number 59.

    38. At 10:18am on 17 Feb 2011, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    9. At 09:44am on 17 Feb 2011, theilliberal wrote:


    Does the welfare system need reform?

    YES! When we say 'poor' in this country what do we mean? Because, my definition of 'poor' would elevate most in the UK to millionaire status.

    The UK government, the European Union and many other countries use 60 per cent of median household income as the poverty 'threshold'.

    http://www.poverty.ac.uk/income_threshold_approach.php


    Which mathematically is a very silly definition because, unless we all earnt roughly the same amount, we could never eradicate 'poverty'.

  • Comment number 60.

    Speaking from experience from a professional ensuring people get all the benefits they are entitled to, then having to be dependant on it myslef. The benifit system as it is is far too complicated, some means tested, some linked to needs, others linked to present situation. Often when benefits are added together, the recipient can get more than the average working person.

    Unfortunatly it is avery brave government that will thoroughly undertake a fuller review, other than just shake up, which in past has paved way for an increase into ways to buck the system. If it is to be done properly, the unilatariansitic approach of a bit to all will also need to change by the DSS system having a complete overall, encouraging more benefits to be managed by private companies and an increase emphasis of payment by vouchers for essential items only, along with exchange for condidtions, such as to have prescribed medical treatments.

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    At some point I read an article which stated that this country pays the same amount of money (approx) to everyone. Working or not this country spends on average the same amount of money per person. This is across services, education, benefits and so on.

    So lets assume the above because it will do for the below point.

    Those who are working still cost the country the same amount of money, except they also generate wealth for the country (assuming private sector). These people bring money into the country by being part of a system which sells stuff. They pay tax with money from outside this country which improves our economy.

    Those who are not working take as much money as the working man, except they generate no wealth. They pay tax but with this countries money.

    The problem is that the goods we buy can be sending money out of this country. So the non-working man is giving our money away while the working man can be bringing in more money than he gives away.

    The point of the above is a question of patriotism. Does anyone care about this country anymore? Given the option to not work or to get a job which provides the same money, what would you take?

    And for anyone who says they would not work, you are the problem.

  • Comment number 63.

    I know a young man who was made redundant and went to JobCentre and got his job seekers allowance. He searched high and low for a job, no luck. Even a well know sandwich shop turned him down as he was university educated. Eventually got a part time job in a video shop, no more than 2 days a week. What happens the jobseekers allowance is gone. Crazy! Clearly the current setup disincentives work and penalises those who get a job, any job. Reform seems to well overdue.

  • Comment number 64.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 65.

    I see on average 8 new claimants per day. The amount of people I have to award JSA, that have never worked, and clearly have absolutely no intention of working is quite frankly disgusting.

    On top of this we [tax payers] have to fork out for TIS 'Travel to Interview Scheme'. You pay for people to travel around to interviews. ADF 'Adviser Discretionary Fund'. The job centre will pay up to £300 per year for clothing/tools/Licences for work. You would be staggered by the number of River Island Suits your taxes have paid for!! Interpreters. The job centre provides an incredibly expensive telephone interpreter service for those that have no intention of learning the English language. I have used the service for people who have been in the UK over ten years and still have absolutely no grasp on English.

    Reform? Nah, it's doing just fine....

  • Comment number 66.

    51. At 10:27am on 17 Feb 2011, gee4444 wrote:

    When people on HYS demand that the 'fit and able' should have to work, I was wondering, does this include those who are rich? Or just the poor?

    ----------------------------

    Both. If they want to keep their riches they will have to do something. Just as those getting benefits for nothing should be doing something.

    I accept that some people cannot find jobs, especially in the unskilled market. Home grown should be promoted for a few years. Import workers that are needed but use home grown workers where possible.

  • Comment number 67.

    The minimum wage has to increase to make work more affordable. Earning under £6.00 per hour does not provide enough money for people with a family and mortgage. Most of the jobs available seem to be at the minimum wage.

    East Europeans seem to be better off working for the minimum wage here because it can be a small fortune when they send it home. I worked with someone who was managing to build a 'mansion' in Latvia on the minimum wage.

  • Comment number 68.

    55. At 10:29am on 17 Feb 2011, Some other person with a comment wrote:

    "...which will cost £2.1bn up-front to introduce."

    What an excellent cost cutting measure.

    -------------------------

    It cost money to scrap the nimrods. But in the long term it is a huge saving. What is the long term projection from this?

  • Comment number 69.

    28. At 10:07am on 17 Feb 2011, Syni_cal wrote:

    No debate on Bahrain yet then? Protesters are being murdered!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Iran, Libya, Yemen and......

    No good pictures in the media, no pundits spouting, no chants to be heard of down with the regime etc...

    No media...then everything must be alright...!

    Complete control of media and hiding what is going on in the darkness, have you noticed what you see on mobiles and the coverage of government clampdowns are all at night, clever bug***s these dictators.

    Everyone is rung out of comment from Tunisia and Egypt, this is almost blase, but I see it some of the reports, "another day of rage in....."

    Iran is the one that needs watching as I think many will suffer.

    Back on topic.

    Yes I think the system needs reformed but we need practical suggestions on HYS. I have read two sides again, the benefit scrounger side , kill them all, and the blame the government and thatcher was mentioned so I do not get the prize.

    I want to see good solutions on here that will spark my interest and make me think and possibly add to what is proposed.

    Come on HYS people get your thinking caps on not your argumentative ones.

  • Comment number 70.

    We have discussed this at length, time and time again, on HYS with all the usual entrenched positions and the ludicrous assumptions about people living in luxury while living off public funds. The latter could be said of other groups beside welfare claimants with more truth.

    The facts are simple. There are too many people living here and too few jobs to go round. We shall not see full employment again unless drastic measures are taken. If there are no jobs, just how exactly are the "scroungers" supposed to find work and support themselves?

    What we actually need is a different system rather than the completely unregulated capitalism we have now, under which a very small number become enormously rich at the expense of everyone else. Why are we still pointlessly debating this issue?

  • Comment number 71.

    Of course it needs overhauling.The system is widely abused by people who come to this country. recently a Somali woman was covicted of defrauding the system of £250,000,no wonder the government can't afford to give our pensioners a better deal. How can they get away with this when for the ordinary person its an nightmare trying to get benefits. Its about time to "silent majority" was asked and listened to about how we feel about the system.As a pensioner I feel very aggrieved about a system that can give people who have contributed absolutely nothing to our society an inordinate amount of money and continually ignore us by keeping our pension at one pf the lowest in Europe. The pensioners of this country should do what the people of Africa/Middle East are doing-PROTEST at our treatment

  • Comment number 72.

    How does changing the Benefit System HELP people get jobs,WHEN there ARE NO jobs to be had because of MORE unemployment that is being caused by Cavid Cameron,--- Just how does HIS brain work, certainly NOT like everybody else's does

  • Comment number 73.

    10. At 09:47am on 17 Feb 2011, grumpy old man wrote:
    Is "universal credit" the new name for "family tax credit"?

    I don't know much about the benefits system, but a possible 26k does seem like a deterrent from looking for a job.
    ________________________________________________

    Just looked on a web site, even if you earn £52,000 a years with a stay at home wife and two kids you still get £480 a year in Tax Credit awards.

    The system needs a complete revamp removing tax credits from those who earn over the national average and give food coupons and gas/electric coupons to those who are work shy and those who have made a career out of living on benefits of which there are quite a few in the UK

  • Comment number 74.

    You know they are in serious doo-doo when they trot out populist clap trap in order to get the pre-programmed knee jerk reactions from the disaffected two days on a row. Yesterday it was public sector workers, today the scrounging unemployed, with the usual predictible phrases being used.

    The embarrasing ruling on the schools building programme, the u turn on Forest sales, people previously enthusiastic about the Big Society verbalising serious doubts about the whole BS concept.

    How can we deflect attention from this, oh of course, we start attacking the easy targets that our tabloid partners have created for us which will get our core support riled up and defending our amateurish blunders again.

    Just press the buttons and watch all the usual bile seeping out the woodwork. Thankfully less people seem to be getting fooled by this cynical manipulation of their fears now.

  • Comment number 75.

    Does the welfare system need reform?

    I'm not sure, like most people, I know people who have never worked in their lives and I laughed at the way that they chose to live their lives. As a couple we decided that the responsible way to bring up a family was for the better earner to continue working and for the lower earner to be at home and create an atmosphere that would encourage our children to be good citizens. I have done whatever I consider necessary to continually earn the equivalent salary of around £45000 - £50000 pa for the last 38 years while forgoing my wife's potential earnings. On my earnings I paid high taxes and my children grew up to be adults that I can be proud of but I have to wonder after 38 years, who's laughing at who?

  • Comment number 76.

    For all you posters blaming the poor, disabled and old for their own plight can I hope that when the government start taking away all the allowances and benefits you also get - as stated will happen by Kenneth Clarke over the weekend - you'll not descend on these boards screaming about it and accept it with good grace?

    After all the seventeen millionaires have said that "we are all in it together".

  • Comment number 77.

    To all those calling for a higher minimum wage - I'm afraid that unless we can close our borders to ALL, including EU migrants (and we can't) all we would achieve by offering higher wages is more immigrants and gallopping inflation. I know what you mean, but the solution is a bit more complicated than just upping the minimum wage.

  • Comment number 78.

    Will people please stop defining "poverty" in relation to third-world dictatorships, etc.?

    We are talking about the UK, and whatever happens in other countries is neither here nor there.

    Do these poverty-stricken third world places have the levels of taxation that we have, for example?

    Let us for once concentrate on our own country, not Africa or the USA. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that for any sort of reasonable standard of living in the UK you need a good level of income to meet the tax liabilities, and until everyone has a good level of income it will be necessary to have some system of benefits, even for those in work whose earnings are at the lower end of the scale - see post 15, for instance. Herein lies the root of the problem.

  • Comment number 79.

    I expect the Govt's next move will be to re-open the workhouses!

  • Comment number 80.

    What a stupid question. Clearly it does. Over complex, open to fraud, discourages people from working.

    The reform promissed is NOT NEARLY ENOUGH, and is not simple enough.

    Taking a holistic approach to tax and benefits....

    a) What are benefits to achieve - they are to stop people starving to death when they find themselves out of work.
    b) What are taxes to achieve - income for the government to go about its business.

    So what we need is a simple way of achieving both.

    a) Single universal benefit paid to ALL legal UK residents from age 16. This should be large enough to prevent stavation and provide shelter, but not enough to live the 'high life'.
    b) Single flat rate universal tax on ALL income.

    (b) is possible because with (a) you no longer need tax allowances - everyone has some level of basic income.

    (a) is good because no one will lose it for taking a part time or temporary job.
    (a) also means you can scrap the minimum wage


    because BOTH are simple they are very easy to work with meaning vast numbers of 'dhss' workers, 'inland revenue' workers and even accountants in many firms are no longer needed, this saves costs all around and makes the 'tax' and 'benefits' systems more efficient

  • Comment number 81.

    #46.

    If people have their degrees and experience in a particular area such as law, then it is a huge blow to the economy if these people are forced into minimum wage jobs rather than much higher paid jobs. Maybe stop encouraging so many from taking such degrees in the first place, but to waste such expertise is plain stupid.

  • Comment number 82.

    47. At 10:25am on 17 Feb 2011, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    It most certainly does need reform. Each Monday morning my village Post Office has a queue even before 9 am, always the same families. they withdraw more money on a weekly basis than I earn in a month, they have subsidised housing, the latest gadgets and are very well dressed
    Once they have the money they move into the shop area, buy numerous scratch cards and a large amount of junk food.
    There is one serious flaw to this reform. Many of the people currently receiving these benefits are simply not employable, not becuse they are disabled but no employer could afford to employ someone who was illiterate, did not turn up for work and was not prepared to do a day's work.

    ======================
    Let me get this right:
    a) You know all the benefits claimants in your village.
    b) You know how much they withdraw on a weekly basis.
    c) You know the housing status.
    d) You know the contents of each of their homes.
    e) You monitor what each of them spends in the local shop.
    f) You note each of their eating habits.
    g) You know that each of them are either illiterate, wouldnt turn up for work or wasnt prepared tyo do a days work?

    Ahhh, the joys of village life.

    Your not a private detective are you?

  • Comment number 83.

    "46. At 10:24am on 17 Feb 2011, LouisW wrote:

    #17. said ' People will have legitimate reasons to turn down jobs. Why take up a job as a labourer if you have a law degree?'

    I think this attitude is part of the problem. It seems that nowadays we can choose not to work and take state money until we find
    something that we fancy.

    A whole generation truly believes that if they don't 'fancy' it they won't do it. Well I started as a tea girl/filing clerk, it was all I could get in 1981 with 4 million unemployed and having done my stint as a YOP had to be satisfied with it.

    Choice is the scurge of the 21st century. Choose a menial job/choose benefits. Years ago the benefits option would not have even been considered, pride wouldn't allow it. Now people are too proud to wait tables but there is no shame in living off someone else by choice.

    Reform all you like but attitudes need to change first. "

    -----------------

    Make ends meet.

    Or don't make ends meet.

    Yes a real choice there.

    You talk a load of rubbish. People do not choose to not take a job because they "don't fancy it".

    If you cannot pay your bills why should you work your backside off for 40hrs or more a week? Especially when you are only providing income for those who are not scraping every penny together and often don't work as hard when they have employees to do all the dirty work.

    That's the reality many find themselves in, it's a choice of working themselves into an early grave and not being able to make ends meet whilst those above them on the employment ladder live the life of luxury for doing very little, or they hold out for employment that will pay the bills.

    Sadly the latter is very rare in this country.

    Oh and to the poster above who suggested insulated cargo containers as housing - how about Victorian work houses, or far east sweat shops, would you like to see those in the UK as well?

    The fact is that attitudes to what employees should be paid and how the poor should be treated need to change.

    A rise in wages across the board is due, proper legislation should be brought in to achieve this, and it should be a rise that allows people to pay their bills without scraping every last penny together.

    The top 10% should be taxed more to reduce the deficit that THEY, if not entirely, have helped create.

  • Comment number 84.

    This subject is beginning to bore me - its always all talk and no action. The benfits system will never change whilst the county is in the mess its in. I appreciate that there a few jobs out there and that is down to having no industry in this country. I don not agree with scroungers and like many of you, know people who are perfectly capable of working but choose not to and teenagers getting pregnant so they can get a house and live off benfits. However, i do not agree with the whingers to say the rich should pay, as i have said before, many people work hard for their money (apart from bankers)so why should they pay for people who havn't. Afterall, we all start off at school and have the same opportunites to learn and progress in life if we choose to.

    I was made redundant during the recession and managed to find work after 6 months but i had the sense whilst i was employed to take out redundancy cover which helped greatly during the months of unemployment (this is also available to everyone) as is critical illness cover should you become ill and not able to work - there is no reason why you need to claim benefits for either of these if you have the common sense to budget for these vital things whilst working instead of reling on the state or thinking it will never happen to me.

    We could go on and on about this but nothing will ever change until common sense prevails

  • Comment number 85.

    I am very concerned about the changes to disability living allowance. It is said by the RNIB and others partially sighted and blind people will likely fave being denied the new PIP replacement on reassessment. The extra money is useful to me expecially if the government changes the benefit system in a way that I'd "have" to look for work. I'd hav to get taxis to any interview that was offered as, my mobility skills are not as good as they should. I was given mobility training at age 12. I learnt the route into town centre and naviagate around that area and my own home area. Then, my training was cut due to funding cuts (surprise, surprise). So, I'd have to rely on expensive taxis if I need to go out of my immediate area. I'm certainly happy to work. i volunteer at a Credit Union. However, I only wash up tea cups and shred docuents. The computers there aren't fully accessible to me as I can't use my magnificaton/screenread software on their system. They have no internet access on some of there work stations. That means I can't authenticate my software use. You can see how getting into employment is a right headache for me. Shouldn't be but... it is *sigh*.

  • Comment number 86.

    Benefits definitely do need reforming as clearly with so many unemployed it is an unnecesary burden on the state.

    Can I suggest that the BBC create a TV programme called Workforce ( a generalised form of BBC's Ground Force) and films groups of unemployed people earning their benefit doing much needed work as volunteers for private companies or working in the community.As an ongoing project this could be a showcase for young people.

    Nobody should get benefit for sitting at home doing nothing.Dave's big society might start with getting the long term unemployed into a job as a volunteer to earn their benefit.

    Situations like these give employers the opportunity to assess unemployed workers as possible future employees and give the unemployed a chance to get into a work routine with its associated development of work skills, self-confidence and personal pride.

    For the hard core who do not want to work bring back National Service where they can learn some discipline and develop better attitudes. After a couple of years some might like to enlist as we saw in the TV programme "Bad Lads Army".

    Getting the unemployed back to work would save the country billions in benefits and would generate growth and wealth developing the economy in the process.

    All it takes is for the government to set up a small unit to organise it and to change the law and regulations where necessary.It just needs to be a whole society approach. It's not rocket science is it?

  • Comment number 87.

    52. At 10:27am on 17 Feb 2011, Harry Lime wrote:

    The comments about low wage levels are absolutely spot on. Minimum wage levels in France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland are all miles higher than the rubbish we have to put up with here.


    ===========================================================

    That is because they still have unions and did not have Thatcher sell manufacturing off. All the countries you mention manufacture, have unions and are better off than us. All these countries, I know because I work in two and the third is the client on a project I work on, have a 38 hour week. This means that they employ 3 people instead of 2 who would work 60 hours. The UK worker has to work 60 hours because the pay is crap. My German colleagues are so much better off than I am and I wish I had worked here 20 years ago like another Brit who has and married a local woman. He will retire and be able to live a life. Our pensioners could not do that without help.

    The benefit system here is structured at 75% of income in the first six months of unemployment as you have just lost your job and need time to adjust. Then it drops but only to 60%. Employers have to pay the government if they pay someone off so the tendency is to keep them working.

    We would not be talking about benefits if the country sold goods and created income.

  • Comment number 88.

    I would like to thank this ConDem Gov for condemning me to yet more stress for being in the unfortunate position of having to claim this "Vast amount of Benefit"..IF I COULD WORK I WOULD!!!!! yes there are folk who abuse the system..but guess what they won't be worrying...I on the other hand will have to justify being "disabled"..obviously the Consultants/Doctors/Nurses don't know what they are doing!!!It's the pen pushers who have all the medical experience!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    If you think we have poor people in this country then look at Eqypt, Tunisia, Iran, Libya etc etc......................

    The very needy have every right to claim support from government, but you can't do everything thats demanded if you ain't got the money.
    You can't get credit on credit!!

  • Comment number 90.

    I see the 'Victims' are out in force on this one.

    My heart bleeds for you, how the hell do you think some of us actaully achieved a well paid job? Yes, by working hard for a long time!

    Yes there are the genuine needy, but there is also a huge number that think they are 'Victims'and this HYS is testiment to that looking at the comments being left by those that dont want to work obviously.
    Educate yourselves, get a degree, get a qualification. Do something!

    If you cant afford kids what the hell are you doing having them, isnt that cruelty or abuse, knowing you cant afford to keep them but still have them anyway? Songers have no feeling or sense of what is right and I agree with the clamp down, as long as its hard, because they wont understand otherwise, they are that thick!

  • Comment number 91.

    "46. At 10:24am on 17 Feb 2011, LouisW wrote:

    #17. said ' People will have legitimate reasons to turn down jobs. Why take up a job as a labourer if you have a law degree?'

    I think this attitude is part of the problem. It seems that nowadays we can choose not to work and take state money until we find
    something that we fancy. "

    Utter rubbish. Someone with a law degree (for instance) has studied, as requested by the Government, and has run up a huge debt doing so, as requested by the Government. What is the point of doing this to get some pathetic job making tea or taking the post round the offices or stacking shelves? What is more, people who have no qualifications need these low-paid, menial jobs - it's all they are able to do.

    The idea that well-educated, qualified people should be doing trivial jobs is completely wrong. Why educate anyone in the first place? It's not a matter of a job you "fancy." It's very often a matter of studying a subject for years, (at the behest of the Government who wanted everyone to go to University, by the way), and then finding, after all this effort, that you can't get a job in that field. That's what you know about so that's where you want to work - why work in some other field or at some mindless job sweeping floors or something?

  • Comment number 92.

    Ha, ha, ha, ha....

    Only a leftie could even ask this question. It has been in need of major reform since the 70's as highlighted by all major independent economic bodies. It is only more critical at this time as the La La Labour incompetents expanded the system when economically (ie what we as a country can afford) we should have been reducing the state welfare system and making it more suitable for the 21st century.

    Spending was completely out of control with the last 'government' and is now being brought under a degree of control. The lies and hypocrisy of the Labour Party show them for what they are; incompetents who only have THEIR careers and ego's in mind NOT the country.

    This reform is long time over due and I hope this is only the beginning and more major surgery will be undertaken to save the body of the welfare to support and assist the TRUE needy, not the feckless and lazy so that they will vote for La La Labour

  • Comment number 93.

    This reform is about politics and failure....it would seem that a new label has been stuck on labours failed new deal program.I don't think the conservatives really understand any of what they propose.Labour has wasted some 130 billion of taxpayers money by retaining means testing,job centres and interfering with industry.The result everyone walked away from the DWP as a failed outdated organization.In 2005 it collapsed,the then labour government gave in to taking away benefit from those who did not fit in the system like spoilt children as a means of trying to save money.This failed too according to leading charities.

    Cameron does not wish to listen to the experts in this field but just to the same old civil servants and a small number of charities who are on the taxpayer gravy train.

    Its amazing at government failure its breathtaking...but what upsets everyone is the politicians lemming like repeat of what has failed again and again.

    This government must go if it does not it must raise its game!!With events in eygpt in our memories it is frigting that the defense advisors are warning cameron of similar events happening here this year.

    The only positive thing here is the intent to sack civil servants caught with their hands in the welfare till and closing of jobcentres at last!

  • Comment number 94.


    Whenever the State offers anything for free for whatever reason, there is bound to be people who will definitely take advantage/disadvantage of it.

    1. There are people who genuinely hate working and State benefits are their means of livelihood.

    2. There are other people who genuinely love to work but either the jobs are not there or they lack qualifications/experience.

    3. There are others too who won't/can't work for medical reasons.

    I quite remember a client of mine telling me that "the government pays me to be mentally ill, for me my illness is my job".

    The father of another client of mine was literally bang me with phone calls about the "benefits" his daughter is entitled to for being in hospital for just a week and been out of work for 2 weeks due to illness.

    The system desperately needs overhaul and radical shake up.

  • Comment number 95.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 96.

    Reform is long overdue. There are far too many in this country willing to have a life on benefits rather than seek gainful employment.

    This "poor man's gravy train" has to end!!

  • Comment number 97.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 98.

    69. At 10:44am on 17 Feb 2011, John Mc wrote:

    Come on HYS people get your thinking caps on not your argumentative ones.

    Here's a suggestion.

    There is general discontent with minimum wage being too low, on the other side of the coin small employers are struggling to pay it with employers NIC (12% on gross), 5 weeks holiday entitlement, paternity leave, maternity leave etc, sick pay (no the government does not refund it all to your employer, thats been wittled down over the years sneakily)..

    So cost of living is the problem.

    I remember as a child government controlling costs of basic food. Milk, potatoes, bread. These prices were only allowed to rise with permission of state. I recently saw a loaf for sale for a staggering £1.83.

    Check this out -

    "Sainsbury's has reported a pre-tax profit of £466m in the 28 weeks to the beginning of October 2010 - a rise of 36%. "

    I was in a queue with 11 people in front of me in that very store. Staff overtime hours had been cut because too much had been paid in December.

    The state needs to reign in supermarkets, they are the one of the few industries still reporting huge profits, and allow people to pay for reasonably priced foods. Then the minimum wage will be a little easier to bear.

    Food stores NEVER suufer in recession

  • Comment number 99.

    The "benefit culture" exists because there are 4.5m too few jobs. That is it. Slagging off the unemployed will not get one person back to work, because there are no jobs. Re-arranging how the system works will not get a single person off the dole, there are no jobs.

    Just how many times does this need to be explained to people?

  • Comment number 100.

    I AM NO POLITICIAN BUT DO POSSESS COMMON SENSE TO HELP REDUCE UNEMPLOYMENT IS SIMPLE.
    1.GET RID OF ALL EMPLOYMENT AGENICES THEY ARE ONLY INTRESTED IN FILLING THEIR OWN POCKETS BUY PAYING THE LEAST AMOUNT TO THEIR TEMPS AND CHARGING THE CLIENT HIGH FEES.
    2. ALL EMPLOYERS SHOULD BE MADE TO ADVERTISE VACANCIES THROUGH JOB CENTRES.
    3. SCRAP THE GOVERMENT BACK TO WORK SCHEMES IE THE ONE WHERE YOU ATTEND FOR 13-15 WEEKS HOW MANY PEOPLE IN PERCENT HAVE OBTAINED WORK AFTER ATTENDING VARIOUS GOVERMENT BACK TO WORK SCHEME.
    4.DO NOT PAY ANY BENEFITS TO NON BRITISH AND NON EUROPEAN PEOPLE IF THEY HAVE NO JOBS TO COME TO DO NOT ALLOW INTO COUNTRY USE SAME ENTRY CRITERIA AS USA AND AUSTRALIA HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THIS SAVE THE COUNTRY

 

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