If we can spend £32 billion on an extra fast train to Birmingham and back, then I think we can afford a few changes in the welfare system to encourage the lazy to give something back, whilst lending the needy a true helping hand.
‘Slash’, ‘axe’, ‘strip’ and ‘scrap’ have been the most popular verbs used to describe PM David Cameron’s latest proposals in relevance to housing benefits for young people.
Coming from someone adamant on dismantling elitism, whilst Cameron may be blindly accused of merely trying to please his Tory backbenchers, some of his suggestions make absolute sense – notably in relation to community work. If Cameron’s wishes were to be commanded, 5000-10,000 people under the age of twenty-five could be forced to take part in community work if they do not find employment or training after two years. Am I the only one who thinks being able to live comfortably without having to work a single hour in two entire years has First World spoilt brat written all over it?
Perhaps the people in protest of this concept seemingly don’t know enough of the facts to be resentful. Maybe if they were aware that two billion pounds made up of their tax money is going towards perfectly competent people because they are “workshy”. Not working whilst the rest of the world works is criminal in the sense it means one is not merely borrowing, but taking other people’s money with no need or intention to return it. Community service is therefore not only the perfect opportunity for one to put back some of what society has given them , but will inevitably stand as an incentive for young people to work for money.
Nonetheless, there are unquestionably a handful of young people in desperate situations who are genuinely not popping kids out like pringles for a bit more wonga; the character Link from the nineties novel ‘Stone Cold’ is a perfect example, considering he was forced into a life of tramp-hood after fleeing from an intolerable household. This is why simply ‘slashing’, ‘axing’, ‘stripping’ or ‘scrapping’ housing benefits for young people is not efficient. The welfare system instead needs to be approached with positive reform – changes to improve, not merely abolish.
For instance, whilst Cameron suggested the “culture of entitlement” must be addressed in order to boost the economy, the problem desperately needs to be addressed from a social perspective rather than a terribly (and typically Tory), economic one. Long term efficacious change is only possible with internal reform in the welfare system – reform that goes further than mere policy alterations to please political party members. More investment must go in to really addressing the situation of those sincerely in need of state support, such as analysing individual cases in order to really appreciate who needs what. It is time for the system to work with the individual as opposed to the collective, because a general outline of who qualifies for housing benefits for example is clearly not sustainable.
This is not an optimistic, costly ideal, but a promising solution that has the potential to pave the path to positive change. Ultimately if we can spend £32 billion on an extra fast train to Birmingham and back (the high-speed rail network), then I think we can afford a few changes in the welfare system to encourage the lazy to give something back, whilst lending the needy a true helping hand.