I AM reading in national newspapers that benefits have been slashed and capped at £500 a week, which equates to £26,000 a year!

How many full-time workers can earn that kind of salary, even should they be lucky enough to have a job of any kind?

These figures are quoted as the lower end of the benefits scale, with some families pocketing more than £60,000 per annum.

I retired just over 20 years ago on a salary of £10-11,000 per annum, with a full-time housewife and two children at school. I presume and work out that if I was still employed in the same job I would be lucky if I had doubled this amount, estimate a figure of £18-20,000 per annum.

How then, I have asked myself for the past years, is it possible for these layabouts and shirkers to claim and be paid this kind of income?

There is something drastically wrong with our welfare system, something that is in need of a complete overhaul and this is long, long overdue.

Without appearing to harp back on the bad old days I am forced to mention that I come from a family of eight children which my parents (my mother also being a full time housewife at the time) raised on less than £5 a week (if my father happened to be working), with no benefit or hand-outs from any direction, and we all survived through hard work and long hours to raise our own families in our own homes.

The type of people we now have in our midst today would never have survived during these early days, and this situation cannot be allowed to carry on.

This so-called welfare system must be reined in or harnessed in some way so that it would not be possible for an unemployed person (male or female) to claim more than the lowest possible salary any job might acquire (might I suggest a bracket of £12,000 to £15,000 pa) inclusive of any housing benefit or extra child allowance, regardless of the size of the family.

Only then will these lazy layabouts be given the incentive to get off their backsides and look for employment, plus the fact the taxpayers and the economy in general would benefit from a huge savings of cash at the moment wasted on these hangers-on.

L A O’Bee, Southampton