Warr Zone with Simon Warr

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CAN we afford to cut our staggeringly high welfare bill or, more to the point, can we afford not to? David Cameron announced at the Tory Party conference that £10 billion will be cut from it by 2017. People under 25 will lose any housing benefit and there will be a limit to the number of children in a family who would qualify for financial support. (It has always puzzled me why ANY child benefit is paid out, rather than affording families a child tax break).

Needless to state, we have had cries of “disgrace” and “typical Tory nastiness” from certain quarters. What is disgraceful is that the welfare state, conceived and designed by caring, compassionate people to stop unemployed citizens of this country (through no fault of their own) from starving, has been highjacked by the fraudulent, the feckless and the lazy, who use the welfare state as a way of life.

It was supposed to provide a temporary safety net for those who fell on hard times. Rather than be an insurance-based net, it has become a gigantic prop, which encourages idleness and selfishness among an ever-growing tranche of the population (including more and more freeloaders from abroad).

It is, of course, the squeezed middle who pay for most of this. For every £3 which goes to the Treasury, £1 goes to our bloated welfare bill, and middle England are paying the lion’s share. Is it right that the system favours those who don’t want to work?

Welfare dependency is not in the best interests of anyone and it is certainly not compassionate to leave families on benefits year upon year. No-one is advocating that families should be left to starve or to be thrown out onto the street, but we cannot get away from the fact that working parents, by and large, produce children who do better at school and who are more likely, themselves, to find gainful employment.

How can we justify flats being given to young people who have never worked, particularly when some employed people, much older, are still having to live at home with their parents for financial reasons?

Why should people in work have to consider the cost of having another child, while those who don’t work needn’t? Why should the state (i.e. you and I) pay for more children for the jobless? Why should those who put in a hard day at work support the idle?

I dare say years will pass before meaningful cuts are made to the chaotic, unfair benefits system and, in the meantime, ordinary, decent, hard-working citizens, like you and me, will continue to pay into this fetid pond of fraud and benefit dependency.

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