Last week, to much howling from the left, Paula Bennett implemented some much needed welfare reforms. Other countries are also moving on welfarism and we shouldn’t pretend that we have a monopoly on good ideas. If Chris Trotter can invoke “Arbeit macht frei” then the least we can do is look at what they are doing in Germany about welfarism.
Some of these ideas have merit.
Eat less meat, drink tap water and sell your old furniture – a brochure published by a German job centre has been criticised for offering benefit claimants a series of bizarre money-saving tips.
The tips are included in a booklet featuring a cartoon family called the Fischers, which was published by a job centre in Pinneberg, a town in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany.
The father of the family, Knut Fischer, a 51-year-old office clerk, faces having to go on reduced benefits after being unemployed for one and a half years.
The booklet shows the family discussing how to save money, and coming up with suggestions including not eating meat for a week. Mr Fischer’s daughter Laura declares: “I wanted to be a vegetarian anyway.”
A scene in a supermarket features the mother of the family being advised by a friend not to put bottled water in her trolley but drink tap water instead.
Bloody good ideas, they aren’t bizarre in the least.
Reports in the German press triggered a flurry of interest in the brochure, according to the job centre, which said the booklet had been downloaded 15,000 times by noon on Thursday. The day before, the download count stood at less than 200.
No doubt the press were trying to create outrage.
Tips from the job centre brochure:
1. Don’t go shopping while hungry, as you end up with more food in your trolley than you can eat.
2. Don’t leave electronic devices on stand-by.
3. Buy supermarket own-brand detergents as they are cheaper than expensive branded products.
4. Save water by installing modern flushes in old toilet cisterns.
5. Take showers instead of baths.