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Should the welfare system be reformed?

10:00 UK time, Sunday, 3 October 2010

Government plans to reform the current benefits system could see the biggest change to welfare for almost 70 years. Will this be good for claimants?

The proposals set out by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith could lead to many benefits for the unemployed and low-paid being merged into a single payout.

The changes are being brought in partly to tackle perceived long-term welfare dependency by unemployed people, with some saying they are better off on benefits than working.

Mr Duncan-Smith said the reforms would simplify the welfare system, save money and ensure "work always pays". But there are concerns that the new system could potentially lead to some people losing money.

Will the government's plans tackle benefit dependency? Do you work in the welfare sector or as an adviser? Are you currently receiving benefits? How will the changes affect you?

Send us your views on what areas of public spending should be protected.

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


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  • Comment number 1.

    It would depend on the reforms

  • Comment number 2.

    "Should the welfare system be reforemed?" YES!!!
    "Will this be good for claimants?" I doubt it otherwise why bother?
    "Will changes affect you?" Nope.
    "Will this tackle benefit dependency?" No, people who never want to support themselves (whilst able to) will always find a way round any legislation.


  • Comment number 3.

    A Tory government last failed with job seeker's allowance under considerably better leadership than now. I am afraid Mr Duncan Smith's efforts look at processes (to save bureaucracy) but not the problem of unemployment and jobs.

    I suggest the Tory 'havn't got a clue what to do crew' resign en masse and give us a general election. It will not solve everything but at least it'll give the country a sense of direction.

  • Comment number 4.

    I do not know about the claimants, as that will depend on their circumstances, but obviously, it is intended to be good for the taxpayer. An overhaul is long overdue, because the benefit system is far too complex and vulnerable to abuse. It should provide a safety net; not an alternative lifestyle.

  • Comment number 5.


    I know they are rare cases but when you see families on the dole who live in 2000 a month rent free houses, and despite being on the dole for years manage to have 50+ inch tv's and brand new furniture. you realise something is wrong.

    We need a fair system where people can not play the rules and live in a life style that most tax payers cant even dream of.

    Two weeks ago the BBC did an artical about one faimily who were complaining that their council delivered breckfasts were cold. Since when did we supply breakfasts to the unenployed?

  • Comment number 6.

    As we don’t know what the reforms are going to be the question is yet again a little premature, no change there then.

    We may all be pleasantly surprised and find that the reforms will actually benefit people rather than be one more way to reduce costs at the expense of the vulnerable.

    Judging by the Tories past attempts I wont hold my breath

  • Comment number 7.

    This unelected Tory government will not be happy until those in wheelchairs chain themselves to the gates of parliament like they did the last time the blues tried to rob the vulnerable.

    What about we stop Westminster throwing several million at the not referendum backed EU everyday ? Or through the myriad of politicians and businessmen who have committed theft in prison till they pay it back ?

    I voted lib this year but was stabbed in the back.

    The Lib/Lab/Con are all one big party and your not invited unless you have money.

    Wake up !

  • Comment number 8.

    This is a government which only cares about their friends, the bankers.

    The same government which wants to withdraw peoples' benefits, when there are no jobs to go to.

    This government is the enemy of the decent working man / woman.

  • Comment number 9.

    If there was a living wage in the uk and not a minimum wage toped up with endless tax credits and other benefits people would want to work.
    As a single person who earns very little i get no help what so ever. If i was married (or not) had kids i could not afford and a lifestyle beyond my means then no problem the state would look after me.
    The only thing this gov is doing to help me is to increase the tax allowance to 10K but there doing it too slowly.
    Welfare should be a safety net for all and not a lifestyle choice but in this modernworld where all the jobs goto immigrants (legal or illegal) can you blame our poorly educated working classes for being a little put out.
    As a engineering worker all i can say is that the companies are not training, there churning exhisting trained people or hiring cheap labour from abroad. Sort out our counrtys third class education system and restart real appretiship training. The reason Germany and France are much better places to work and live is because they protect there industrys and value there citizens unlike the UK.

  • Comment number 10.

    My only hope is that legitimate claimants still receive what they are due and that bogus ones are weeded out of the system.

    One very quick point on how changes will affect me - why is it that pensioners in this country receive a relatively low weekly income while the government quite happily throws money at those from abroad who seek to live here but are ill prepared to do so.

    The first priority for any PM is to look after their paymaster - ie every tax paying person who has contributed to the pot. When they are well looked after then if necessary cater to the needs of immigrants.

  • Comment number 11.

    Rest assured that any exercise the tory carry out means more dosh for their investor creed. And of course it will not save one penny but again there will be tory loving consultants running around looking as if they are important yet botch everything up.
    Seen it time and time again. Wake up decent people of Britain, alas too damned late. There is no room for decent people in this ruptured place.

  • Comment number 12.

    Not in the hands of Ian Duncan Smith or Frank Field- both have simplistic solutions to complex problems. In addition Duncan Smith is tarnished by being part of the Tory Party- the very people who widened the benefit dependency culture by putting so many people out of work- which they intend to again. Simple really, if Osborne, the trust-fund millionaire, makes 600,000 people who had jobs and want jobs redundant, where are all these extra jobs going to come from? The private sector? Only the certifiable believe that the private sector can invent new paid jobs- after all, the last government had to create thousands of public service jobs to create work for the private sector. No-one is going to be opening coal mines, mills, heavy engineering plants or car plants anytime soon. Shops rely on people who work in industry to buy their goods and Thatcher and Major ripped the heart out of industry. Only fantasists like Cameron and Osborne really believe we can win back what they threw away!

  • Comment number 13.

    This is an indescribably negative government. Where are the plans, the resources and the cash to create the millions of jobs we are going to need.

    Tax evaision and tax havens plus all the other loopholes cost the country tens of billions. Where are the plans to reign them in?

    Why are the Rich not paying for a crisis thier greed caused?

    Cameron IS Broken Britain, his plans will ensure it. Why? because the market is allowed to dicatate EVERYTHING. Vat rises will hammer the poor.

    Getting people into work is pointless when all thier earning go on energy bills, and feeding our rip off culture. Government plans are hammering the poorest and will make matters worse.

    This is a Godless, wicked Nation and a force for evil in the World. Our quality of life is being eroded and our economic status collapsing all due to rightist bigoted ideology.

    We need a massive robin hood tax on the Banks and the City and we need to reign in tax evaision and havens, that will save us hundreds of billions.

    The only way to fight poverty is a massive redistribution of wealth from Rich to poor.

    I'l say this, I dont want to be Thatcher, Blair, Clegg or Cameron and the British Bankers and financiers etc etc on my death bed. There will be a day of judgement for the Wealthy and those who cuddle up to them as they mercilessly hound the poor not unlike the way the Nazis stigmatised the Jews.

    What an amoral Nation this is. Millions now fear Cameron more than Al-Queda.

  • Comment number 14.

    These 'reforms' are purely financial, a cost cutting exercise, which will cost us far more in the long term. To truly reform welfare, we need to look at jobs, life chances, social stratification, Education et cetera, not cutting the costs of welfare. One major problem seems to be the lowest paid workers are not making much more than peole who are looking for jobs, this needs to change, we need to respect workers much more than we currently do and that means paying people MORE, not cutting welfare. Job Seekers for a single young man is a pittance, and not enough to live off. I know this from my own experiences last time the Tories were in power and there wasn't any jobs for the youngesters, like me.

  • Comment number 15.

    Nobody in this country who could work but refuses to do so should be better off, not only in financial terms but also in terms of a general quality of life, than someone who is prepared to work.This applies particularly to people trying to bring up children on low incomes but prepared to work nevertheless. It is a situation that has needed to be redressed for decades. Hopefully, the Government is aiming to redress the balance shortly.Of course, there will be hundreds of thousands if not millions of feckless selfish uncaring Brits and immigrants already anticipating how to screw the new system. Thus has it been in this country and thus will it ever be until there is a sea change in the whole population's willingness to take on board a less selfish, more decent, less greedy more caring persona.

  • Comment number 16.

    The welfare system desperately needs reforming. It's one thing seeing tax from hard earned salary going to help the genuine sick who are unable to work , and the people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, but I strongly object to any of the money I worked for going to healthy people claiming to be incapacitated, and the workshy. Why should the taxpayer be required to house and maintain people,married or otherwise, who bring children into this world intentionally with the object of spending the rest of their life in idle indulgence at the taxpayers' expense . Likewise an obscene amount of money goes to housing and feeding immigrants from not only Europe which we can do nothing about, but to people from Africa, Asia and the middle east for whom we have no responsibility, and are of no value to the community. Housing benefit is another anomaly , where landlords can charge excessive rental, knowing that the state will foot the bill, a minimum amount of benefit should be paid, and if the landlord does not accept it then his property will not be let. This would effectively reduce the cost of rental in the private sector . Councils must also be stopped from housing people who will not pay rent or community charge unless they are too sick to work, housing should be allocated firstly to those in work and can pay their way.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes the answer is a simple answer, not so simple to implement.

    My answer would be to stop giving money out at all and give food vouchers, school uniform vouchers and clothing vouchers twice a year summer and winter and pay bills directly within limited amounts.

    The unemployed/disabled should not be given money to spend on alchohol, cigs, drugs, going out, holidays, 50" t.v.s new furniture etc - I cannot afford all of the previous and myself and my husband both work!!!!

    When I was unemployed due to being in a wheelchair - I didn't receive a penny even though I applied. I would have been happy to have had food given to me, I had to borrow money and 3 years on am still paying it back.

    But like I said it's complicated, breaks are important for people with diabilites, not the unemployed.

    You do have to look at different benfits not 1 fits all..........

  • Comment number 18.

    A benefits system that can pay up to £2,000 a week in housing benefits to an unemployed family is clearly flawed. That working families are paying taxes to pay the rents of non-working families who are living in houses the working family could only dream of is absurd.

    That a family could earn £83,000 and still be receiving tax credits is absurd.

    That a family could increase their income by £25,000 a year and not even have a single £1 reduction in tax credits is absurd.

    A system that has between 30 and 50 differnet benefits (depending on whether a 'supplement' is classed as a benefit) is absurd.

    A system that gives child benefit to a billionaire is absurd.

    Labout tinkered and fiddles and meddled and has created a system so ridiculously complicated it defies belief.

    At the heart of their system is a process that takes taxes off people and then hands them back benefits, via a bloated system of Civil Servants.

    Of course the system needs reform.

  • Comment number 19.

    yes of course it should. what a daft question! everything can be improved upon - especially when it costs so much to operate. Private companies have to perform in order to stay in business, they develop new products or services. The welfare system seems to me to be oblivious to this need. Just like the NHS. It's biggest problem is that it's systems don't work because they try to rationalise subjective issues. Fundamentally there should be a constructive and decisive system which is difficult to dupe. It should be controlled by values fundamental to performance.

  • Comment number 20.

    Any Scheme to ensure that work pays is to be welcome; tough for those who will lose out because they have been chronically unemployed.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am someone stuck on the benefit system (but we do not claim jobseekers or income support) and yet I do agree that it needs a major overhaul! But not at the expense of us who genuinely need the help! This is why I am concerned. Exactly how far are these proposed reforms going to go and are those who desperately need the help going to suffer just to stop those who can work from claiming?

  • Comment number 22.

    Unquestionably, the welfare budget is multiple times the size of the Defence budget and that is madness - we can't afford it any more. I am prepared to support the truely vulnerable people out there but when we have eastern europeans migrating here to work when the workshy stay at home - how can this massive budget be justified??

    Why should I pay more in taxes, meaning that my family has less opportunity and choice, so that lazy people can sponge off me?

    Fairness - It is simply NOT FAIR that middle income earners are seen as a perpetual cash cow by well paid multi-millionare politicians like Nick Clegg, with his Father's wealth meaning he will never know what is is the be the "working poor". Daddy will bail out Nick.

    I'm sick of hearing this mantra "fairness", like the rest of over taxed middle England.

    Welfare is supposed to be a safety net - not a lifestyle choice !!

  • Comment number 23.

    No it shouldn't be be reformed. The only thing that is wrong the welfare system is the paperwork that you have to fill in. Like the Nazis the Tory/Libs are engaged in a political and social cleansing of the poor.

  • Comment number 24.

    A bit of a one-sided question, and a bit early yet, as others have said. Wouldn't it be more apposite to ask what would make an acceptable balance between the interests of the claimants and those of the taxpayer?

  • Comment number 25.

    Recently I did a bit of research into earnings, looking at articles posted on the beeb website amongst others. Do you know how much you have to earn to be in the top 25% of earners in UK plc? 30k. Serious.

    So 75% of the UK earn less than 30k. Have you seen how much things cost at the moment!?

    Tim posted about poor wages being topped up with benefits. I have to agree that sorting this needs to be part of any shake up of welfare reform.

    But of course, instead it'll be a case of choosing between working for near starvation wages for the most part (especially if you have a family to support) Or actually starving on benefits!

  • Comment number 26.

    The money benefit claimants claim is there's to claim. They are voters and equal subjects to the crown.

    The politician and business people have committed the biggest heist in human history towards there employer and wage payer-the average Joe. Take there liberty and prosperity away from them, make them pay back the money they stole to recoup the nations loss via mass robbery.

    Stop throwing money to foreign nations and inviting non-UK citizens in by the bus load. If Caesar gives to the Romans a fair share and not carts off barrows full of gold to jolly foreigner then maybe Caesars own people will stop trying to take back there own money.

    Benefit claimants are being demonised ad young mothers who have as many kids as there entitled two are being victimised with media peddled nuremberg sterilization law like venom. What will the upper eccelions and middle class ''intelligentsia'' do next ?

    Target the Jews for ''taking the money off the people'' and go about smashing up people's life's ? Mind you it did happen before about 70 years ago, perhaps Cameron's taking us back the way in more ways than one.

    And do you know the most tragic part of it is, the public will buy it. Everybody loves a scapegoat and any good politician in his crafty craft knows this, anything to keep your minds off there titanic corruption.

    Keep walking, the sheepdog is that way.

    So, sad.

  • Comment number 27.

    · 17. At 10:46am on 03 Oct 2010, Georgina wrote:
    Yes the answer is a simple answer, not so simple to implement.

    My answer would be to stop giving money out at all and give food vouchers, school uniform vouchers and clothing vouchers twice a year summer and winter and pay bills directly within limited amounts.

    The unemployed/disabled should not be given money to spend on alchohol, cigs, drugs, going out, holidays, 50" t.v.s new furniture etc - I cannot afford all of the previous and myself and my husband both work!!!!


    Lets just reopen the workhouse with a sideline of cleaning chimneys with the children of the unemployed, sorry I forgot if you lose your job then you lose your children as well.

    Unfortunately there will be people who think this is a good idea

  • Comment number 28.

    Probably the most cost effective reform would to bring back council houses, selling our housing stock has cost this country a fortune in over inflated housing benefit paid to the “Buy to Let (Profiteer) brigade”

  • Comment number 29.

    If you claim benefits then you MUST work for society.


    Having seen 4 people on benefits get new flats and new furniture only to destroy everything in under 1 year and move on to do exactly the same again I am totally and utterly disgusted in the UK "Governement".

    And when I mean destroy I mean destroy the walls, the carpets, fitted units, soak the bathroom so much the ceiling came down underneath, spread rubbish EVERYWHERE.

    I cannot afford to have a new bed, TV, sofa, tables, chairs, washing machine, dryer etc

    One of them even had a car on contract lease,, which she also left behind when she moved on.
    The best part was she rarely even had her child at home and when she did all she could do was shout at it.

    These people should be made to to work and work goddamn hard like I do.

    There is plenty of work that can be done to make society better,, get them WORKING.

  • Comment number 30.

    Why are we having a one- sided review which only looks at welfare when we really need a genuinely comprehensive review which looks at tax as well? Looks like old- fashioned Tory "Lets bash the scroungers" philosophy to me. IDS can't really believe that huge numbers of people will miraculously find work, so the claimed savings in reality will have to come out of benefits. To some small extent i agree, for example when the great Labour visionaries set up the welfare state it was effectively what it said on the tin: National Insurance. You paid in when working and took out when needed. Yet now we pay 18yr olds lager money for doing nothing. That should never happen and i'd rather those kids did community work for their money- some sort of National Service, not necessarily military.
    But in general terms the review worries me for several reasons. I think the groundwork is being laid for the removal of the state pension. We have seen the removal of the retirement age, and now a "universal benefits system". How long before pensions get thrown into that? But IDS, pensions are not benefits, they are a govt debt, every bit as much of a debt as your debt to the banks. But i reckon that once the system is in place, the age at which state pension gets paid will just keep slipping out to the right until it goes altogether.
    There is way too much disparity of wealth in the UK. I'm not saying everyone should be paid the same, maybe some should earn 2-3 times more than others...but 200, 300 times more? There are real potential savings there!
    Ultimately, to really solve our debt problem, the best way out has to be positive, not negative. We have to return to wealth creation, away from the Service Sector. So much "business" set up in the UK over the last 20 years does nothing to create, or even to help create wealth. We have become a nation of agencies, middlemen, not creating anything. All our real industry has gone. We used to have a thriving car industry. It died, the management bleating that our workers are too expensive. So the Japanese, French, Indian, German companies came in, and now those same "too expensive" workers, now earning more than before,and given genuine respect, work in thriving industries. Proof that it is British Management that is to blame, they think their jobs are accolades rather than responsibilities.
    I started work as an engineer in 1979. Then, the UK electronics and software industries were world beaters. 30 years later they have gone, vanished. British technology is now a joke. Management would not invest, nor train, but took huge salaries, cars, pensions out.
    Basically what i'm saying is, welfare spending is not the root of the problem, it is simply something a civilised nation does. Tinkering with the mechanics of payment is not going to fix the problem. What will fix it though is wealth creation, and to get there you need to invest in people's skills, share the wealth and the pain, and invest in technology. The Germans have done it and so can we. Where is the vision we can all share in? If we are going to get out of this mess then we'll do it together, not by victimising sections of the community.

  • Comment number 31.

    13. At 10:42am on 03 Oct 2010, Norman Brooke wrote:
    "We need a massive robin hood tax on the Banks and the City and we need to reign in tax evaision and havens, that will save us hundreds of billions."

    Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with the above statement this will not address the problem of 'Life style choice' benifit claimants.

    "The only way to fight poverty is a massive redistribution of wealth from Rich to poor."

    And this will achieve.....what exactly? You will merely end up back where you started, the poor will now be rich and the rich will now be poor. What's wrong with trying to improve standards from the bottom up?


  • Comment number 32.

    Welfare is desperately in need of reform after Labours disastrous policies.

    1. The focus on reducing child poverty has actually encouraged the poorest in our society to have more children to live off the benefits attached.

    Providing welfare to those in the greatest need simply encourages people to put themselves in great need.

    Benefits should be limited to 2 children and free housing should not be part of the package.

    2. Benefits should be strictly time limited and that includes all benefits not just unemployment benefit.

    3. Disability benefits are widely abused. Only very serious cases of disability should attract long term benefit payments.

    4. Immigrants should not be entitled to any benefits unless they have been granted British citizenship and then only after a qualifying period of 5 years.

  • Comment number 33.

    The argument that a third of all government spending does not wash. For a start about a quarter of it goes to people who dont actully need it to stay alive. The original welfare system was developed to prevent want and poverty caused by old age, unemployment and sickness but has become a playing field for the wealthy to milk. Even Royalty now wants welfare!

    Furthermore had we not allowed post industrial areas in the bigger cities to waste away and spent North sea oil and used the City to finance jobs in the run down areas, instead of making the rich richer, we would not be spending so much on welfare. They told us that wealth creation would filter down to the bottom, but it has been deliberately turned off at the bottom in order to give those who dont NEED more and more. If you have a society that wants to make more people Richer you must expect increasing poverty at the bottom because resources are finite. Again British small minded capitalism has created its own problem now wants to bash the people who IT created.

  • Comment number 34.

    How are the Tories proposing to get people off benefits and into work? As long as this country continues to import and employ foreign workers above their own there will always be a shortage of jobs. Why not train our own workers up (at a reduced hourly rate?) and once trained they then have the skills for life and can use those skills in other employment if they wish. We then wouldn't need to look to other countries to supply skilled workers as we'd have our own. It may take a few years for this to take effect but in the long run would be beneficial to everyone in the UK.

    They also need to stop paying benefits to people/children who are not even resident in the UK! How much would that save?

    There's always been a benefit culture in Britain but why has it become so much of a problem in recent years? Yes, this country needs to get people off the benefits lifestyle but it needs to look at the bigger picture first.

  • Comment number 35.

    This is way overdue. I wish i had the nerve to claim some of these benefits and lead he good life.

  • Comment number 36.

    Should the welfare system be reformed?

  • Comment number 37.

    HomeCountyCynic: Middle England. Enough said.

  • Comment number 38.

    13. At 10:42am on 03 Oct 2010, Norman Brooke wrote:

    What an amoral Nation this is. Millions now fear Cameron more than Al-Queda.
    Too true and making a few hundred thousand public sector workers unemployed should add to the fear because Cameron cannot grasp alternative jobs do not exist. The problem is lack of proper full time jobs not a couple of days cabbage cutting or other casual work. There are a lot of unemployed people stuck in areas where their work was removed living in houses either rented or of little value. For large areas of the country the minimum wage is THE wage and many employers get round this by either making people self employed or making people work overtime but not paying for it. What the reforms will be remains to be seen but even trying to starve people in jobs will not work if jobs do not exist.

  • Comment number 39.

    JackMax The pepole you are reffering to sound like morons and should have there benifits reviewed but applying it in a sweep across the nation ?

    I tell you what we put all benifit claiments to work (God that sounds so autocratic) if you go with them tothere jobsthat you will probebly never be asked to do i.e picking up syringes and cleaning out toilets for a pittance.

  • Comment number 40.

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

  • Comment number 41.

    Bradford I am on long term DLA but im dying. Is that a good enough apology for scraping back the money I paid all my life in tax but was robbed by the lib/lab/con anyway ? Id ratehr have my life than high DLA I dont enjoy having hundreds when I know my time is short. I will trade it for more life anyday if Camerons offering, but no these pepole stole all our money then are taking what I have to enjoy with my 5 years max left and will force me to work or face the last part of my life in the bottom of the pile. Cameron lost a kid due to illness so did brown a suprised they are saying this, I dont think they really think it I smell big investors and busniessmen pushing there buttons. Look to see whos really benifiting in these situations befour we pass judgment, I dont even pass judgment on cameron or brown in his issues with there lost kids I could never imagine but I can pass judgment on those politicians caught robbing or those caught and still working handelling the contanental money in the eu.

  • Comment number 42.

    I cant be the only one that thinks that when the conservative party are saying on one hand “We must get the unemployed back into work” and in the same breath “We are going to make millions of people redundant”

    You cant do both?

  • Comment number 43.

    All sounds good, but the devil is in the detail
    Lets wait and see!

  • Comment number 44.

    Very interesting article in the New York Times, 30 Sept, which puts the UK spending on universal child benefit at £11 billion, twice as much as total unemplyment benefit payments.
    The majority of this money, it implies, goes to above average earning families, who have no need for it.
    It also makes the point that Cameron/Clegg whilst talking tough on other benefits will be wary of tackling this issue because of its possible effect on the middle/upper classes.
    When Cameron talked this morning about, 'keeping cuts in perspective', he presumably meant a middle/upper class perspective.

  • Comment number 45.

    If it is going to take 10 years to overhaul the current system, do they really think it will save money?? It is going to cost more to overhaul than to leave it alone and tweak what is wrong with it.
    I am always sceptical of overhauls like this, as if the ministers in charge are trying, not to make things better, but using it as a ego boosting legacy making monument to their time in office. The current overhaul of Incapacity isnt over yet, therefore are the two to run side by side? or are claiments going to find one week they have Icap then the next ESA and then the new one? there is no saving of money in changing paperwork or causing stress that all this will cause in the short term, and frankly, at the end of it, there will still be serious flaws with the system,with thousands paid out to the unworthy, because that is what the daily mail tells us!
    I seriously doubt that there are that many people claiming who shouldnt be, the system is too hard to get into in the first place.You have to be really twisted to go through that many mind numbing interviews, reams of forms, months on sickness benefit at a very low rate, no money coming in for months whilst the dwp sort out and stuff up your claim, not to mention needing other support during that time, and the stigma of it, I really dont think any sane reasonable person would do that for a few extra quid each week. Its more likely a few are claiming once they get better, and its those who need seeing to, but for the most part, Incap is NOT the easy way to sit on ones behind doing nothing benfit to obtain!
    I suspect however, that yet again disability and incapacity to work are being used as an excuse to make the government of the day look good, which, thanks to many narrow minded gutter rags perpetuates in society the prejudice that still exists for disabled people only thinly disguised.

  • Comment number 46.

    What they should do is add a positive incentive for peeps to go back to work. I do contract work and was out of work for three months over summer, but I did not claim, cus I am like that you see. I started anew contract in September but I am paid in arrears and will receive no money until the end of October (and it wont be much cash at that). Thus, I will have gone 5 months without any income and I have run-out of funding. Inquiring whether funds were available to pay my rent and buy me food it became apparent that I was entitled to nothing. I would have been better off simply claiming in the first place, my reluctance to do so made matters worse, my taking up a new contract compounded this. I have been in a similar position before, doing contract lecturing/teaching, and have had to lecture all day on an empty stomach. However, rather than do the right thing, the government looks at taking away support from vulnerable peeps. Many of these poor peepies who 'make a lifestyle choice' to be unemployed are unemployed because they have lost hope, the government and society has stripped it away from them. many also have deeper psychological problems, but then we could do what California did and boot all the mentally ill peeps onto the streets, whom I saw living out of bins in LA. Maybe ministers would consider a 'lifestyle choice' of living off benefits? Of course they wouldn't because it sucks and is a painful life compared to the luxury they reap from our taxes. It is rich, one group of peeps that have good jobs that pay well, at taxpayers expense, chastising the poor hopeless and helpless peeps who are weary and defeated by the horrid world of the fatty-cats, who live off a bare minimum of taxpayers cash. The Government sucks like Satan.

  • Comment number 47.

    I suspect and hope ID's reforms will be for the good. Something has to be done, to get people back into the economy.

    I would advocate the unified approach, using existing agencies under a single regime. All applicants would be given initial benefit, based on economic contribution. Non-contributors may be given benefits in kind, only. Long term contributors may be given an enhanced level of primary benefits.

    Obviously the disabled will require special treatment in the regime.

    Continued benefits would be assessed by a circular management system. Those, able to work, would be monitored in their efforts to find work. Failure would result in compulsory continuation training and consultation. Drop-outs would be placed on temporary benefits in kind.

    Deliberate failure, where detected, would result in permanent benefits in kind, or, in the case of victims of addictive conditions, managed benefits.

    The concept of managed benefits is already used for chronic addicts.

    The system would apply to immigrant applicants as well as indigenous applicants, which would remove issues of "Yuman Roights".

    The whole thing would be based on the adage, "There ain't no free breakfasts!"......... a basic principle of society at large..........

    Surprisingly, all the mechanisms already exist in our Social Service Infrastructure. They are currently unco-ordinated, though.

  • Comment number 48.

    Have a conversation with anyone claiming welfare and it is fairly obvious that the process of claiming and subsequent administration of pockets of welfare is way over the top.

    If changes are to be made I would prefer those welfare changes to reflect the claimant as their own entity with their own needs which should be met by the state if they absolutely cannot take care of themselves.

    But whilst doing this, I really want the government to tax the non-doms and tax avoiders and gain money rather than withdraw it.

  • Comment number 49.

    The benefit trap has been a disgrace for years. If incentives in the form of disgusting bonuses work for city boys who don't remotely need them, how much better will they work for people on the benefit/low wage fault line. These are not stupid people: if you're penealised for working, who'd work? Elementary economics. IDS is a highly unlikely benefit reform champion, but in these unpredictable coalition days all bets seem to be off. All credit to him for some proper joined up thinking and the drive to take on and apparently defeat the usual treasury short-termist objections.

  • Comment number 50.

    If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side.

  • Comment number 51.

    Yes. I pay tax and I don't like seeing it wasted.

    People going through a hard time should be supported to get out of their problem and I have no problems with them getting some cash, training or whatever.

    People who "can't" work for years on end, but have Sky, mobiles, smoke, drink, a big TV, breed like rabbits and so on (the benefit scroungers) should have to justify every penny. If they can't, then they shouldn't get the money! If they won't work thats fine... NO MONEY AT ALL!

    The do-gooders will always moan. Let them pay for it all then!

  • Comment number 52.

    I just hope that whatever changes and cuts are made that the promise made by the coalition, that the vulnerable would not be affected, is kept to.

  • Comment number 53.

    There is a daily mail reading minority in this country who will not be happy until the poor are queueing with hair shirts on their back outside the work house gruel bowl in hand asking "Please Sir, may I have some more".

    We however live in the 21st century and in one of the most prosperous societies on the planet. Is it not time that the basics of life, food on the table, a roof over our heads are viewed as inalienable rights to be provided to all. These rights of course should come with responsibilities, everyone who is able should contribute according to their abilities and work a decent days work for which they should receive a decent days pay and that pay should compare favourably with benefits.

    The Tory party seems to forget that there are more people than jobs in this country and that some people due to no fault of their own cannot get a job, to drive them and their families into penuary is not my idea of a "big society".

  • Comment number 54.

    28. At 11:05am on 03 Oct 2010, Jill Swinborne wrote:

    Probably the most cost effective reform would to bring back council houses, selling our housing stock has cost this country a fortune in over inflated housing benefit paid to the “Buy to Let (Profiteer) brigade

  • Comment number 55.

    The root of the welfare system is unemployment and lack of job creation. Almost everyone seem to forget why we have a recession in the first place - it's because we are too dependent on service sector. It won't solve any problem by cutting/removing benefit, set a time limit for benefit claim, push people to work or confiscate their goods since there are simply not enough jobs to go around. By doing so will only create more crimes and cost more to society. The solutions (as some already mentioned above) are: 1. bring back industries which were destroyed 2. enforce self-sufficiency instead of importing(if you aren't working, then go farming or raising livestock to earn your living).

  • Comment number 56.

    #37 - SCGH Communications - don't get your veiled reference to middle England.

    If you are thanking us for paying the lions share, then great.

    The thing about Socialism, is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money

    #13 Norman Brooke - a tax on the City - OK, what about a tax on other high earners - actors, athletes, tradesmen, former politicians, celbro-journalists?

  • Comment number 57.

    Any system of government welfare is bound to be flawed simply because of deliberate abuse by the workshy and their behaviour raises all manner of secondary issues/grievances. Add to this the fact that employment opportunities seldom if ever coincide with the effects of stringent cut backs in government spending and you have a recipe for failure and disillusionment. The present welfare system is rather like a person in need of a hair cut but it should be a trim to the back and sides with some thining out and not a full head shave.

  • Comment number 58.

    The BBC are still at it with leftist propoganda, by way of their spending cuts tool (

    The tool allows you to make cuts to social spending, but equates this to pension cuts.... it allows you to cut law & order, but equates this to police officer on the beat.

    Plain wrong: The cuts that are needed span all areas where Labour's nannying state paid for things that people should take responsibility for. Therefore, phase out unemployment benefit and child care. Cut police spending by having police on the beat for 80% of the time not 20%, filling in forms to justify not having breached some vile miscreant's human right. Reclaim costs of crime from criminals, including legals and policing fees (target=£10b/yr) and use prison to reduce costs of crime. Remove all non-jobs in the social service, such as diversity schemes.

    Thereafter, curtail wasteful grand plans like HS2 (£30b). Be clever with defence spending, such as the shared army idea and either a cut-back or scapped Trident (£50b-£100b).

    There! I've saved about £100b-200b and created a much fairer country where those who work are not paying for the idle who don't, self-appointed victims and over-bloated self-serving public sector departments.

  • Comment number 59.

    The gang in charge knows exactly what they should do - stop all the handouts to foreigners. They will only do what they regard as good for their own political future.

  • Comment number 60.

    These reforms are needed because the benefit system is over complicated and very biased towards certain sectors of society .how fair is that a single parent is given better treatment than a man with a family that has lost his job through no fault of his own.The poor downtrodden family man on JSA does not get the disregards on earnings like the single parent does.the lone parent can go and earn £20 a week and it does not affect her benefit and if she works 16 hours a week she/he can claim working tax credits ,yet the poor JSA claimant with a family can only get a £5.00 disregard for part time earnings and would have to work over 30 hours a week to claim working tax credits ,and the disabled/long term sick get even bigger rewards than the lone parents.Benefits if payable should be the same for everyone regardless of their situation.I look forward to the detail of the reforms and the changes it brings .well done con/lib's ,your bringing about a refreshing change to this ailing society,

  • Comment number 61.

    For a long time I have been advocating a complete change in social support payments.

    The current system is over-complex and poorly-constructed. It is no surprise that it is also badly-administered - even competent people, rather than the 'nice-but-dim' employees who staff the job centres, would struggle with such a poor system.

    The core needs to be a single payment to anyone who is not earning, irrespective of the reason for them not having an income. It does not matter if they are ill, disabled, have caring responsibilities, are too old to work or just cannot find a suitable job. That single payment should be sufficient to meet the basics, to feed, house and clothe the person. No additional benefits need then be paid.

    The reduction in administrative over-burden, more wasteful than the making of un-needed payments, would pay for it.

    The personal tax system also needs reform such that the same amount is the tax-free allowance for everyone who is earning... no more of the ludicrous situation where people pay tax and then get given some back because they don't have enough to live on!

    It is such a simple solution that even a politician ought to be able to understand that it is the best way of meeting the government's obligations to those of its citizens who are not earning.

  • Comment number 62.

    Many thousands of elderly pensioners existing solely on the State Pension receive Income Support. How would the Government plans affect them? It seems that the Lib Dem/Conservative Government is determined to Rule by Fear. Frightening the most vulnerable in our Society into accepting gratefully an even lower standard of living
    once they find that at least they can still afford a diet of bread and water and are not sentenced to death by starvation.

  • Comment number 63.

    When I see individuals who have never done a days work in their lives driving around in cars they get changed every two years, and having their homes furnished with 42" TV's and fridge/freezers etc., I see a country that is rotten to the core.
    When I see the elderly retired who have worked all, or, most of their lives refused help, or, benifits because they have earned themselves a works pension it makes me very, very angry and disgusted to the extreme.
    When I see arrogant intentially long-term unemployable lazy parasites pushing drugs, and having racous anti-social parties throughout the night disturbing everyone around them I do not regard them as human, nor, entitled to any form of benifits.

  • Comment number 64.

    50. At 11:31am on 03 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    "If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side."

    Magi, yet again you make reading through a lot of dross worth it just for your comments. Love it! Have you ever considered a career in politics? I'd vote for you every time.


  • Comment number 65.


    Yes I agree with you when you say we should be improving standards from the bottom up, but what chance to many of these people have. If they are unemployed they are stigmatised by the rightwing media and suffer cuts to what are usually meagre amounts. Millions live well BELOW the official poverty level of £90 per week and we dont see thier plight made headlines!

    Then if they gain work, they are then forced to pay for market levels of gas and electricity bills, VAT rises and all the other costs that are part of Rip off Britain, meaning they have nothing left to save up for.

    Government want people to save but until we adress this appalling rip of culture of what we are forced to pay for in this country we will still have a mass of poor people dependant on welfare or in jobs with no reserves left to improve thier lives or put away for a rainy day so to speak, never mind saving for retirement.

    That is what worries poor people the most, they are having everything stripped away form them with the net result they dont have any reserves left to save up with.

    It does not matter what you do in this Country, put fuel in your Car, buy a CD, take your family to the pictures, buy something new, pay bills and other neccessary housing costs, you are being systematically exploited and Ripped off.

    At least the French have charachter and show some fight unlike this cowardly mass we call Britain.

    I used to love this Nation now I fear it more than Islamist extremists because we have enough of our own extremists running the system, the media etc etc.

    Millions upon millions of brits now see the real extremists as being Government and the Financial system eating off thier table and being pushed under by a revolting and utterly evil culture of Greed by the Wealthy.

  • Comment number 66.

    The task of weaning various people and groups from the welfare 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 67.

    Now lets address the "elephant in the room."

    Will any of these so called "reforms" produce a single job,which when claimants take will reward them well enough to be effectively removed from the welfare system altogether??

    In the end what seems to be on offer here is a souped up version of New Labour's Tax Credit system,whereby employers can 'depend' on being able to pay less than a "living wage" whilst govt makes up the shortfall.

  • Comment number 68.

    Now this one is really naughty. Absolutely guaranteed to bring the loonies crawling out of the woodwork in numbers. If only you'd been able to mention immigrants in your question - it could have run for months.

  • Comment number 69.

    One company, two employees on the average wage.
    Employee 1. A new recruit from the long term "workshy". Earnings topped up by being allowed to keep some benefits.
    Employee 2. Always done "the right thing" by working. Earnings reduced by cuts in working/family tax credits and child benefit. Cuts necessary to subsidise earnings of Employee 1.
    What a brilliant idea!

  • Comment number 70.

    Well I though Adolph Hitler was wrong when he attacked the Jews making then escape goats for industrial Germany however it seems our Government is implementing the same tactics only this time against the unemployed?

    As if the unemployed are totally responsible for the state of Britain today, my god the way our Government are putting their case across you would think so wouldn’t you?

    Come on get real, unemployment is but a small area of concern to the nation, the real problem is our Governments spending tax evasion and all the departments that are presently in play including hang on ministers in jobs for the boys positions that are totally unnecessary or not of any value to the state.

    David Cameron’s cuts are going to cost jobs in total over 600.000 have you ever asked MR Cameron why we are giving billions in aid to 185 different countries if our own country is in such a financial mess, NO well I suggest you do by letter or email then come back on here and start your spouting.

    Get the facts and look at the bigger picture?

    We all know that in the unemployed sector there are those who are abusing the system and yes they need a good kick up the backside but lets not forget those who are genuine and need our help, one day you might need their help yourself so before we go damming everyone with the same brush lets step back and think a little.

    Life’s not fair’ it never will be and was never intended to be so, we are all here because we are the strongest of our civilisations, the problem is we in Britain have no backbone unlike the French who stand up for their rights and state their case should their Government plan against them.

    So how long do we think our Government has been planning against us, years if not centuries? The Internet is a vast place to seek information and I think you’ll find if you take the time to look our Government have plans, plans that will eventually lead to our ultimate control in the future, events that are happening now have been created for a reason, that reason is to divide and conquer the people and one way to do that is as Hitler did to make one side of society hate and condemn the other.

    Makes sense don’t you think and this is just the start?

  • Comment number 71.

    Re:33. Norman's at it again with his so far wide of the mark comments it's laughable. You seem not to be aware Norman that if a person has savings - I think the current figure is £8000, and/or an income (including pension)over a very low level, they do not qualify for and have no entitlement to benefits except child benefit. Whether or not child benefit should be universal, irrespective of income and paid for any number of children is debatable and personally I don't think it should, but the government, including the last 13 years of a useless Labour regime allow it so there's no point having a go at the rich about it. Have a go at politicians - of all parties for allowing it. How, therefore can the benefits system be 'a playing field for the rich to milk?' The ones that are milking it are: 1. those that we have seen in the press in the last 3 weeks who have 10 or more children, don't work because the benefits they get (£30,000 or more net which is close to £45,000 gross for a working person) mean they don't have or need to and think it's their God given right to have taxpayers should fund their lifestyle, 2. those that have made benefits a career choice as a preference to finding a job (there are sadly and undoubtedly many unemployed who desperately want to work but at present cannot get a job but many of those in receipt of benefits have been claiming for 5 or more years and up to 2 years ago there were plenty of jobs. They are unemployed through their own choice). 3. those claiming and receiving benefits, especially incapacity benefit and are working full time whilst defrauding the taxpayer by claiming benefits and not paying tax on their illegal income. Blair and Brown deliberately moved hundreds of thousands of unemployed people onto the incapacity benefits register so they could fiddle the figures and claim that they had reduced unemployment. Once on it the incentive and motivation to find a job is removed -'I can't work, I'm incapacitated'.You really do need to take off your blinkers Norman - maybe then you would see reality rather than the distorted picture that you have invented.

  • Comment number 72.

    Oh, wow, the disabled should get food vouchers, school uniform vouchers and clothes vouchers? Not allowed alcohol? As if life isn't humiliating enough.

    The benefits system does need to be over hauled, but as a disabled person myself (who cannot work), I can tell you now tat disability benefits are not only incredibly difficult to get, but the process can be downright ridiculous as well. I have been waiting since January to have my DLA sorted out. Without adequate DLA and thanks to the poor state of Social Services, I can't get the help I NEED. My Doctors have tried everything, they know I need help but there is nothing more they can do. I can't afford the supports I need to stop my joints dislocating and the NHS can't afford them either.

    Why is it bad to allow disabled people a little fun? Or is it that people just assume that because we receive money from the state that we automatically just enjoy ourselves and splash out on cars, holidays and lord knows what else? My life isn't like that. I do drink alcohol, now and again, because sometimes, nothing else gets rid of my pysical pain.

    I just don't understand why some people get so jumped up about disabled people being on benefits. I used to be able to work, unfortunately, I had to deal with the NHS ignoring my problems until I reached this point and now it looks like its all too late. Had I been dealt with appropriately to begin with, I could still be in working order.

    Its the same story over and over again, poor NHS care, rubbish Social Services, incredibly hard to get benefits that leave disabled people and there carers in ridiculous financial problems and the funny thing is - its not even their fault! I never expected to be like this, I know many others who never planned to end up like they have. We lose friends, family, jobs, opportunities, freedom, dignity and people want to still take more.

    Disability benefits need to be reformed so that those entitled to it actually get it and the same for their carers, it shouldn't be as hard as it is for those genuinely disabled to get the help they need. Incidentally, abuse for disablity benefits is in fact incredibly low and tends to be down to people who 'were' sick continuing on claims in spite of having recovered.

    Its the JSA folks etc who really need the reforming not to mention those tax dodgers. Not talking about those who have lost their jobs, it happens, but the claimants who keep claiming with no interest of actually looking for a job.

    Personally, I hate going down to the benefits office on the rare times that I have to, you get the decent folk but mostly, you just see the same old people down there who can't be bothered.

    I would love to be able to work, I would love to be able to buy food with my money that I earned, but its not going to happen and that is something I have had to learn to accept. I was told off by 2 doctors for wanting to work, they then told me that I had to 'learn to accept that I was disabled and this is my life now'. How can anyone learn to accept such a thing? I am not even middle aged yet and already I am thrown on the tip. I am defying them even now, applying to college to be re-educated so maybe I can find something to do that they can't oppose.

  • Comment number 73.

    Instead of reforming (cutting) welfare benefits here, how about cutting the vast sums wasted on 'foreign aid' that go to line the pockets of corrupt officials?

    I was always taught that charity begins at home.

  • Comment number 74.


    What exactly is your latest meaningless soundbite supposed to mean ? As others have pointed out you should be a politician you speak the language and make about as much sense.

  • Comment number 75.

    I applaud the time immemorial recognition that at 16 an individual is no longer a child, the ending of paying CHILD Allowance past this age has always been so illogical, I was working at 16 and considered myself grown up. The absolute current fashionable nonsense of extending "childhood" into ones 20's is hideous. At 16 one can marry, leave home and make ones own life. All that needs clearing up now is the potty "Labour" law that makes a person who views or possess a nude image of a 16 or 17 year old a paedophile, sex offender and face up to 10 years in prison, this law is so illogical I personally can't see it standing up in a Court Of Law. The condensing of all Benefits into one simple credit is a good idea so long as it is not coupled with a Witch Hunt of sick and disabled people, the same needs to be done with taxation itself, the cost of collecting a mulitude of different taxes by various departments must cost a fortune to administer, why not have just one tax for earnings and one tax for spending, one department collecting tax and paying out the one benefit. Lets hope this Government keeps to it's word and reform, reform, reform, streamlining the flow of money in and out of Government and sorting the "Nanny State" nonsense of "Elf and Safety" which is stiffling Society. Bring logic to the aforementioned so called sexual offence and legalise brothels to give safety to those who wish to work in the sex industry. Bring this Victorian Land of ours into the REAL world of the 21st Century and apply common sense to law not starting from the premise that the 98% of law abiding citizens are all potential criminals and child abuses.

  • Comment number 76.

    22. At 10:56am on 03 Oct 2010, HomeCountyCynic wrote:

    Unquestionably, the welfare budget is multiple times the size of the Defence budget and that is madness

    Why should I pay more in taxes, meaning that my family has less opportunity and choice, so that lazy people can sponge off me?

    Welfare is supposed to be a safety net - not a lifestyle choice !!

    No doubt these cliched sentiments will be repeated ad nauseum as the central office rent a rant mob mobilises.

    Trident, apparently, is affordable because it's "necessary" : This Seems to reflect the 1970's "red robbo" time warp that so many tories are trapped in.
    Cold war over,Unions not running the country,Iron Curtain down.
    Anachronistic absurdity.

    The old tax payer "victim" mindset takes centre stage as per.......never mind the absence of jobs...just a wee technicality that.

    There are those in society who lack integrity and will leech off the rest of us regardless of need.I think it's fair to say that in addition to bankers and tax cheats, genuinely lazy benefits cheats should be included in that category. However, tiny minded middle englanders do need to try and see the wider picture and take a more balanced, sane view; it does not follow that just because someone is in the unfortunate position of being on benefits during a massive recession,that this represents a lifestyle choice - does it?

    Now then, why don't we focus the same degree of attention on an area likely to yield greater dividends - tax avoidance (spirit, not letter of the law - for the pedants)/evasion!

  • Comment number 77.

    It depends on the reforms - But the Tory record is very bad on welfare - ID Smith is a failed Leader. So I do not believe any reforms actually made will be of benefit to anyone but businesses and the rich.

    If they had one tribunal for all disabilities that was identically applied in all council areas it would be a start. If all NHS areas gave exactly the same service to all UK citizens that would help. But that won't happen because it would cost money - Tories don't want to spend money on the poor, sick and vulnerable - because they ARE poor, sick and vulnerable.

    If they restored the pensions link to wages (that Tory Thatcher removed) that would start to help restore my pension to it's comparative level BEFORE Thatcher - but they won't and they haven't - so my state pension will continue to fall compared to wages - though the actual cost of living will continue to rise.

    But we need jobs with a liveable wage - Long time UK citizens having priority on all forms of welfare and benefits AND JOBS.

    And for everyone going on about the rare benefit claimants that have over the top benefits - please consider that there are two major reasons for this - One - locally, conditions are that the ONLY accommodation available is the one given (to keep within the rules) - and Two - often the actual conditions are the minimum required for a council tenant. The fact they are BETTER than some non council tenants shows how much the real standard of living has plummeted since Thatcher signed us up to to the EU without a referendum.

  • Comment number 78.

    · 64. At 11:46am on 03 Oct 2010, knownought wrote:
    50. At 11:31am on 03 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    "If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side."

    Magi, yet again you make reading through a lot of dross worth it just for your comments. Love it! Have you ever considered a career in politics? I'd vote for you every time.



    I didn’t realise that this was a chat room, or is it a marriage/dating website?

  • Comment number 79.

    To change the welfare system we need to change people. We always talk about "entitlement" rather than "need". If you need help, then welfare should be the safety net. If you are merely entitled, then you should go without. Get a second job if necessary. Help yourself and don't depend upon others just because it is easier to do so.

  • Comment number 80.

    There are a lot of posts here from people, who presumably hate their jobs, gleefully imagining the long term unemployed being bullied into employment.

    There is just one problem - who is going employ these people? The job market in this recession is more competitive than it has ever been. HR Managers are inundated with CVs from qualified experienced workers who are desperate to find employment. What chance does someone who has been unemployed for 10 years have of finding work.

    Unless the government is thinking of compelling employers to take on the long term unemployed - it has to be accepted that most of them are unemployable – the reforms will achieve little.

  • Comment number 81.

    Depending upon what the reforms are, I would hope that they would be helpful for taxpayers and claimants alike. I just hope that they will sensibly sort out those who do not wish to work but are quite happy for others to pay for them not to do so.

  • Comment number 82.

    54. At 11:34am on 03 Oct 2010, twistywillow wrote:

    28. At 11:05am on 03 Oct 2010, Jill Swinborne wrote:

    Probably the most cost effective reform would to bring back council houses, selling our housing stock has cost this country a fortune in over inflated housing benefit paid to the “Buy to Let (Profiteer) brigade

    = = = = = =

    Ditto - And who did this?? Tory Thatcher - the house snatcher!!!

    It was actually worse because she banned councils from using the sale reciepts to build new houses - and reduced council rent reciepts (that used to be used to build and maintain council property) Result housing disaster.

  • Comment number 83.

    Haven't we seen all this before?

  • Comment number 84.

    All healthy people should work.Any change in benefit will hurt those who will always end up in a low payed unskilled job.Those with a bad education or unable to read or write will always need a large tax credit to top up their wages so matching welfare benefit once given.There are people on benefit who will not take up a job because they have to pay tax and national insurance and after tax the welfare benefit means more money coming into the house hold.
    The future must be a working tax credit and any benefit that is payed is less than the minimum wage for a 48 hour working week.It can not be acceptable to stay at home and live off benefits if you are a fit and health person.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am on benifits with my partner an 3 children. We live in a privetly rented house that the council pay £800 pcm for. We would love to go back to work but even if we could find jobs we would not beable to afford our rent payments!! We have asked the council to house us in affordable housing but they have refused. That is were things start to go wrong when the council would rather pay £800 pcm than house us an let us pay our own rent!!!!!!

  • Comment number 86.

    I have to admit that Milliband’s living wage is a far better idea than this rubbish, which of course means more bureaucracy, cost and ultimately dependency. What is strange about all these benefit claimant bashers is their lack of understanding of reality. For example, there are more people in work being topped up than unemployed claiming benefit. A 16-hour week on minimum wage is topped up, say for a single person by almost £60, works out about £8 a week better off than the dole, but the point is it is still a benefit! Same person working a 30-hour week is still paid £50 tax credit!
    These figures simply prove that workers are not paid enough and have still to be paid by the state. In the meantime employers continue making big profits. So IDS saying "work always pays" is rubbish. Work only pays if you earn a decent salary. Where is the incentive to work? People work to earn a “living”, not just to survive!
    I remember when the minimum wage was introduced; it made a very big difference, with wages, in some cases trebling overnight. Now, times have caught up, and the minimum wage holds no water, it needs to double at least.

  • Comment number 87.

    · 71. At 11:58am on 03 Oct 2010, Peter Eccles wrote:
    many of those in receipt of benefits have been claiming for 5 or more years and up to 2 years ago there were plenty of jobs.


    We as a country have NEVER had full employment in my lifetime.

    We have NEVER had more jobs available than the number of people looking for employment

    You are talking rubbish

  • Comment number 88.

    Prevention is better than cure. We need to look at the common themes for long term welfare dependancy and tackle the causes, not just remove the money that they are dependant on which will just increase poverty and crime. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but if you teach a man how to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime. It should be about teaching and training the long term unemployed to give them skills to be attractive to prospective businesses and allow them to find new work. I've said this before but even a small step like prioritising the unemployed to do jury duty would help create a work culture and combat the depression effects of being unemployed.

    Reading the comments on here you would think there should be a law to stop people on benefits owning a tv larger than 28inches! :-) I'm not, nor ever have been on benefits, but I accept that there are people who need support and I think they are entitled to every penny, far more than my taxes paying for a multi-millionaire MP to have his moat cleared or the plants cleared from his chimney!

  • Comment number 89.

    When people breed like rabbits and expect the State to keep them, I get very angry that my hard earned taxes go on these lazy spongers. I have worked hard for 36 years yet all my taxes seem to go on these layabouts. It is about time that we had a goverment who dealt with those not willing to work or earn a decent living. Unmarried mothers, housing benifit fraud, those coming into britain, ect.ect ought to bring something into the country before taking out. Let the Present Goverment kill the benefits to those who don't work.

  • Comment number 90.

    I had a stroke and am physically incapable of working, but I want to as I have no wish to vegetate. I asked the DHS for help so they sent me an application form for a DHS LOAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put you're own house in order first Cameron!

  • Comment number 91.

    family allowance
    for a family ie mother father both working
    give them a choice to not recieve the allowance
    but to have the money invested till the child reaches university
    age then use it to pay there fee's
    this would encourage and give a incentive to stay in employment

  • Comment number 92.

    At some point,like it or not,something has to change.At present we are the 6th richest country in the world.That is going to change,we will fall lower down the table.The result of this is that we will not have the resources to to fund the present levels of welfare.Simple as that.

    Both sides of the house are well aware of this,but nobody has got the balls to actually spell out why it has to change (doesn't get votes).The likes of Diane Abbott can claim that this is an ideological attack.

    Its simpler than that.Its about basic economics,if you a rise in expensive treatments and technological/pharmacutical costs,a rise in inflation and costs of living you are going to have to get as many people contributing as you possibly can.If you dont then you are going to have a problem funding.And that problem is going to get worse as emerging economies overtake the UK.

  • Comment number 93.

    Extracts from The Independent on Sunday

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed the number of employed rose by 184,000 to 29 million, marking the largest quarterly hike since the three months to May 1989, and about three-quarters of this increase was due to workers born outside the UK.

    The figures also showed a total of 25.08 million people born in the UK were in employment in the three months to June 2010, down 15,000 on a year earlier.

    But the number of people born outside the UK who were in employment was up 114,000 to 3.85 million, compared with the same time last year.

    British Government supporting British Workers.

    So some on all you clever anti welfare posters, where are the jobs for the unemployed going to come from? You don't know? well looks like that makes a few million of us then don't it?

  • Comment number 94.

    61. At 11:41am on 03 Oct 2010, Megan wrote:
    The core needs to be a single payment to anyone who is not earning, irrespective of the reason for them not having an income. It does not matter if they are ill, disabled, have caring responsibilities, are too old to work or just cannot find a suitable job. That single payment should be sufficient to meet the basics, to feed, house and clothe the person. No additional benefits need then be paid.
    Totally ridiculous. Your argument says that a disabled person who is unable to work should get the same “basic needs” as an unemployed person who can work! Talk about discrimination, have you learnt nothing!

  • Comment number 95.

    Having done the math I can categorically state that work always pays anyway. Someone with 2 kids earning as little as £5000 pa is £56pw better of than someone living on JSA alone.
    The truth that Cameron seems to be seeking to hide is that most of the benefit bill is actually paid to people in work to bring their earnings up to a non-starvation level.

    Would it be too much to suggest that the best way of cutting the welfare bill would therefore be to increase the minimum wage or should we carry on subsidising profit grabbing businesses?

  • Comment number 96.

    79. At 12:08pm on 03 Oct 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    To change the welfare system we need to change people. We always talk about "entitlement" rather than "need". If you need help, then welfare should be the safety net. If you are merely entitled, then you should go without. Get a second job if necessary. Help yourself and don't depend upon others just because it is easier to do so.

    = = = = = = ==

    You don't live in the real world do you? There are NO FIRST jobs in many parts of the country - So how the devil can they get a SECOND job???

    Get real!!!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    Yes, we have seen this all before - what's needed is a living wage.

  • Comment number 98.

    When it comes to benefits, if I live with my girlfriend in her house, our financial circumstances are taken into account as if we were a family.
    When it comes to taxation of the rich, Mr Ed has shown how he has legally avoided capital gains tax by not getting married. So much for Labour's hypocracy in their assault on tax avoidance and evasion. Before you start on cutting benefits for the poor, address the inequality of tax avoidance.

  • Comment number 99.

    This is a particularly stupid question - as at the reforms - if that's what they REALLY are, are an unknown quantity!

    Unless the Cameron/Clegg love-in, takes drastic measures against the sponging feckless, the households where 3 generations haven't done a stroke of work, the teenagers deliberately becoming pregnant only to stick their hand out, & receiving a pile of money, the work-shy from Europe, hi-jackers who receive benefits (not forgotten them!), the UK will never recover. Even so I am not expecting a proper recovery for a generation!

    However by clamping down on the above, they will generate votes for NewLieMore who are the main architects of the UK's bankrupt position - with the ghastly possibility of another NewLieMore government! The dance-macabre of our economy then starts again!

    My daughter will be taking her degree in aeronautical & mechanical engineering - then I will buy an air ticket out of this country! The UK I knew, is finished; I fully expect a collapse of Sterling & a revisit to the IMF!

    Only this time there will be no recovery - get your gardens turned into vegetable plots, buy a big stock of candles & hoard your gold! This is what they died for in the mud of Flanders, the skies of 1940, the beaches of Normandy et al - the UK is finished!

    When Sterling collapses, fuel will be priced out of reach of most folk - not only for your cars but also heating! If anyone expects to run the nation on a few wind turbines & a couple of clapped out nuclear power-stations, they're living in cloud cuckoo land!

    All the politicians are trying to paint a picture of fluffy bunnies, milk n honey flowing from's all a damn con to suck you in & take your cash!

  • Comment number 100.

    #28 & 82: Recommended.What a positive way to help the building industry eh?


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