Archive for the ‘Welfare Reform: Fact vs Fiction’ Category

Government focus on the causes of poverty

Jeudi, octobre 15th, 2015

Here’s an interesting article by Tim Montgomerie in The Times of 15th October, 2015 on

“Lies, damned lies and poverty statistics”:


“The Tory plan is to supplement income-based measures of poverty with assessments of “life chances”. Applying the five pathways to poverty that the Centre for Social Justice popularised, ministers will be required to focus on joblessness, educational failure, family breakdown, indebtedness and addiction as the causes of poverty.”

“The illusion that poverty is in retreat just because benefits have been increased by 2, 5 or 10 per cent will be buried. Poverty only retreats on a sustainable basis if the private sector creates jobs, if pupils acquire real skills and if more children live in happy, stable homes. There will no longer just be a speedometer on the welfare dashboard — there’ll be a fuel gauge, a sat-nav and a lot more warning lights. The drive against poverty will, it is hoped, get a good deal more sophisticated.”

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article4586139.ece?shareToken=84a3405c655dda081c72e17de6244e25

David Cameron in Birmingham - by Michael Webster

Mercredi, octobre 8th, 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron is to be congratulated on the excellent speech he delivered at the Conservative Party’s 2014 conference in Birmingham, in marked contrast with Ed Miliband’s very poor one.

Interesting to note that he has promised $40 billion of spending cuts over two years, compared with French President Hollande’s $60 billion, and specifies these will come especially from Welfare, which M. Hollande is unlikely to dare to do.

Mr Cameron has at the same time promised tax cuts. This he is able to do because of the successful revival of the British economy. The IMF has just reported very favourably on it, withdrawing its previous criticisms of the austerity policy and stating that the country had emerged from the financial crisis and was due to grow at a faster rate than any other developed nation.

This is such a contrast with the lack-lustre French economy and the now faltering German one, that it should prove to be a vital factor which will win us the election.

Michael Webster,
BCiP member

Welfare Benefits - Separating Fact from Fiction

Vendredi, avril 12th, 2013

With the Welfare debate developing as a key policy differentiator between the major political parties, the on-line Guardian newspaper on Saturday 6th April, 2013 carried the interesting article below on the overall benefits system in Britain:
Benefits in Britain: separating the facts from the fiction

For 2011-12 it is estimated that 0.8%, or £1.2bn, of total benefit expenditure was overpaid as a result of fraud. This is far lower than the figures widely believed by the public, as revealed repeatedly in opinion polls. A TUC poll recently revealed that people believe 27% of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently.

Hard to judge, and hard to generalise. There is a lot of movement in and out of work, so many Job Seekers Allowance claims are very short. More than 80% of claimants never go near the work programme because they aren’t on the benefit for long enough. A lot are off it in under six months. For disability benefits, there are a lot more long-term claimants, of course. In 2012, 18% of working-age households were workless; in only 2% had no one ever worked. More than half of adults in households where no one has ever worked were under 25. So although the proportion of households where no one has ever worked has increased recently, it is likely to be a manifestation of high and rising young adult unemployment.”

This has been followed by an article in the on-line Sun newspaper on Sunday 7th April:
Brits say benefits are too generous. Poll backs Tories’ attack on State handouts.

“SIX out of ten voters think State handouts are far too generous, a poll reveals today.
In a massive vote of confidence for David Cameron’s blitz on benefits, they think the PM is right to CUT them.
Most people believe at least HALF of claimants are not in genuine need and don’t deserve any help.

And they think striving families struggling on low incomes are being squeezed at their expense.
The huge public support for an overhaul of the welfare state is spelled out in a YouGov poll for The Sun.”

Then Alister Heath writing in the on-line City A.M. Monday of 8th April, 2013 sums it all up quite well by bringing together what he terms the HYSTERIA surrounding reform of financial services and welfare in his article:
Facts are vital to the debate on welfare and banking reforms.

“With some caveats, I’m broadly in favour of the coalition’s reforms to the welfare state, and wish the changes went further. Instead of helping the most vulnerable get back on their feet, the present system all too often traps them in poverty; it is also unfair to those who work. But I’m worried about Iain Duncan Smith’s decision to rely on complex computer systems, an area in which governments tend to fail.
What is clear is that the case for a return to personal responsibility should be made without seeking to demonise the vast majority of those on benefits. Nobody should feel the need to exaggerate the present system’s many woes.”

The Conservative party is currently “making the political weather” as they say and leading Labour on the issue of welfare reform. However, with the public generally in favour but apprehensive about the actual impact on individual hardship cases, there’s a need to concentrate on the facts and ensure successful implementation of the new welfare benefits system before the May 2015 General Election.

Public perception of an issue is important in politics but getting it wrong will make it too easy for Labour, very much on the defensive, to respond with e.g. their pantomime “nasty party” label for the Tories and throw away a clear lead with the public on this issue in the opinion polls.