Sunday, 3 October 2010

Welfare Reform

The big noise today is about welfare reform.

However, if there is to be reform of the benefits system, it has to be done carefully and with the precision lacking in every other endeavour government gets involved in, so its likely to be the usual shambles.

For instance, there are imbalances in the syatem: the well-off get universal benefits they don't need, the feckless are paid to manufacture babies, those that have no link to the country and therefore no right to benefit are handed it on a plate, those that just need a small helping hand to escape endless benefits are denied help, and those really, truly in need are refused help.

We need to be establish what the benefits system is really for. One thing its absolutely not for is to house families in million pound mansions, or hand out 95k lifestyles. Its a safety net, its there to keep people from starving. To be humane you could take it slightly further and say its there to keep people out of poverty. But there it ends. Anyone wanting more must get it by helping themselves.

At the point people decide they want to help themselves, the system should provide that help, be it training in order to get qualified, paid work experience, a change in the taxation system that rewards those switching from welfare to work and most importantly, a change in the system itself to keep up with the flexibility required by todays employers.

Certainly scrapping the delay between claiming and actually receiving benefits is an imperative: its a risk deterring claimants from stepping from claiming to earning. Changing the over-complicated system that requires claiming benefits from 3 or more seperate agencies with some benefits dependant on others is another important step towards streamlining the system to make it fit for the modern environment.

But its a big ask for government to micro-manage all of this as they should. Instead our ministers will issue edicts to useless middle-managers who will monumentally fuck things up. This is the public sector after all, which in my past experience has a higher proportion of fuckwits, freewheelers and deadwood than the private sector.

Its guaranteed to be a monumental fuck-up. Again.

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