Our welfare system needs major overhaul

12:56pm Wednesday 6th March 2013

SIR – A woman on benefits is to be provided with a six-bedroom house to accommodate her 11 children.

It’s no wonder the Government fears an increase in immigration when some unemployed are provided with six-bedroomed houses.

It makes me wonder why people on modest incomes in unpleasant jobs bother to get up in the morning and go out to work.

It’s been suggested that benefits should be reduced to encourage people to be more independent and find work.

The problem with this is that children will suffer. In some states in the US, the unemployed, including single mothers, have to work for their benefits.

When this was suggested here there was an outcry, claiming this is tantamount to slavery, which is, of course, nonsense and shows an ignorance of what slavery really was like.

The way the system works in the US is nursery accommodation is provided for single mothers, which enables them to work in state-provided employment. The work is menial and unskilled.

This approach to the unemployed provides an incentive for them to find paid employment.Initially, this is expensive for the taxpayer (providing child care) but has major long-term benefits.

The children see a mother as someone going out to work to for the benefit of her family, while the unemployed gain self-respect, a sense of worth and they maintain the work habit.

The welfare state was set up after the Second World War to provided temporary assistance for the genuinely unemployed.

It wasn’t meant to be a way of life, enabling the workshy to spend their entire working lives and beyond living off the tax paid by hard-working people.

When the economy recovers, the Government in power at the time really must grasp the nettle and reform the welfare state so that it more accurately resembles the vision that Beveridge had in mind in 1942 – that of a temporary safety net.

Perhaps, when more people who can find work are encouraged to do so, more resources can be provided to help the genuinely unemployed, such as the rising number of young unemployed.

CHRIS BROWN

Worcester

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