Saturday, 5 March 2011

IDS' Welfare Five Year Tractor Plan weakness

The Mail does again today what it does best - offers us a range of targets for our hatred and vilification. As Britain's bile spills over the breakfast table this morning at the 26 benefit cheats exposed on the Mail's pages, I really can't summon much spite. Had the paper pictured 26 bankers in their Surrey mansions enjoying the Spring sunshine at the taxpayer's expense whilst fleecing gullible widows and orphans, my bile would have risen with the rest of the nation's, but since the Mail is read by these bankers' wives I guess they're off-limits. 

What the piece does demonstrate is the utter futility of Iain Duncan-Smith's Five Year Plan for Welfare reform, which just replaces one central Statist behemoth with a new central Statist behemoth. It is the remoteness of the State from the individual, and the separation of the Welfare process from the local neighbourhood and community that enables such petty fraud. As far as the Mail's 26 fraudsters are concerned, they're not robbing their neighbours but the State - it's like insurance fraud, innit? If benefits are funded and paid locally, by people who live in the same street, shop in the same corner Co-op, as these cheats then both deterrence and detection are hugely enhanced. 

What a wasted opportunity. 


Blue Eyes said...

Most damaging is that undeserving recipients of welfare largesse feel not as though they are stealing from other people but cheating "the system".

Don Cox said...

I don't see how local funding could work. Whole districts are poor or rich. There are not just a few poor individuals surrounded by rich people.

The tax base for supporting the poor has to be nation-wide (or perhaps Europe-wide).

An alternative approach would be to give everyone, poor or not, a regular allowance of about the amount of the current old age pension, with no special allowances at all. The better off would pay more in tax than they receive, the poor would pay no tax.

Votefor said...

Come on! We have to start somewhere, and at least IDS is talking about reductions. The thing needs broken.

Edward Spalton said...

In Switzerland there is a fairly generous level of unemployment pay but it is conditional on a weekly interview to ensure that the claimant is "genuinely seeking work" (as our own regulations say).

But it doesn't last forever. The level of payment and the length of cover depend on previous employment. When that runs out, those out of work are literally "on the parish" (commune) and they know the money is coming from their neighbours. The relieving officers have a pretty good idea of the character of the claimant and how deserving he is. This was a concept which our system abandoned in the Sixties.

With this plus a very good system of apprenticeships and industrial training for young people, Switzerland has a far lower unemployment rate than Britain.