Iain Duncan Smith discusses welfare in the UK with terms and tones that should be used here:
Iain Duncan Smith will say that the current payment of benefits is supporting “dysfunctional behaviour” and that for some families “the notion of taking a job is a mug’s game”.
In his first major speech since publicly agreeing to draw up another £10 billion of benefits savings, the Work and Pensions Secretary will insist that the system must return to the principles of William Beveridge, the founder of the modern welfare state.
Mr Duncan Smith will say: “All too often, government’s response to social breakdown has been a classic case of ‘patching’ — a case of handing money out, containing problems and limiting the damage but, in doing so, supporting — even reinforcing — dysfunctional behaviour.
“You have to ask which bits of the system are most important in changing lives. And you have to look at which parts of the system promote positive behaviours and which are actually promoting destructive ones.”
He will highlight warnings from Beveridge, made almost 60 years ago, that those relying on benefits cannot hope to receive assistance “from a bottomless pit”.
“Especially so, when the economy isn’t growing as we had hoped, the public finances remain under pressure and the social outcomes have been so poor,” Mr Duncan Smith will add.
If welfare was the answer then we should have solved the problem it was designed to help. Instead welfare has caused an bottomless pit of despair where people are led to believe and indeed do believe that the answer to all of societies ills is ever increasing handouts from the state.
The Government is planning to overhaul the benefits system with the imminent introduction of universal credit, which is designed to remove financial barriers for unemployed people wishing to return to work. He will describe the current system as one of “Byzantine complexity”.
“An exemption here, an addition there, all designed around the needs of the most dysfunctional and disadvantaged few,” the Work and Pensions Secretary will say. “Instead of supporting people in difficulty, the system all too often compounds that difficulty – doing nothing for those already facing the greatest problems, and dragging the rest down with it.”
Mr Duncan Smith will say that the poor use of government money in recent times has led to people being “written off”.
“Our failure to make each pound count has cost us again and again over the years, Not only in terms of a financial cost – higher taxes, inflated welfare bills and lower productivity, as people sit on benefits long term. But also the social cost of a fundamentally divided Britain – one in which a section of society has been left behind. We must no longer allow ourselves to accept that some people are written off.”
The Conservatives believe reforming the welfare system and cutting tens of billions from the annual cost will be a popular policy at the next election.
They are right, because in tougher times the working stiff, paying the taxes that get poured into bludgers have had enough. They work their guts out and watch as people live on the large having a lend at their expense.