Posts Tagged ‘Social Welfare’

Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) - Values (1/3)

Mercredi, septembre 27th, 2017

Considering the post-Brexit era Erika Angelidi, the Conservatives Abroad Representative in Greece, has provided us with the following input for our Conservative Policy Forum (CPF) discussion meeting on the 29th September. The rest of her text on the CPF’s subject of “Conservative Values” is expected in the next few days:

“Our first priority is and should remain the well-being of the British people and the permanence of the influence and radiance of British culture.

My suggestion is therefore the following: that the afflicted groups of the population such as the homeless or those in a weaker financial state must be supported, so that we may all, as a body, enter the post-Brexit era.

I would like to suggest that local communities express more of their own voice and everyone be urged to partake as an active citizen. If citizens were to express their demands and solutions on a local level periodically (every 2-3 months), and these were documented and forwarded to the parliamentary members concerned, this goal would be attained. This would be an efficient instrument in aiding the growth of local communities as well as improving their living conditions.

Another sector that could be ameliorated is education, which is the “bread of life”. A means to its improvement is for teachers to work voluntarily and offer supporting classes, especially for the needier groups of the population.

We live in times where a new future arises and we need to critically reflect on ways to ameliorate our existing situation, as we are called to make history in the post-Brexit era.”

Erika Angelidi
Conservatives Abroad Representative Greece
Athens

How to Widen Tory Appeal?

Mercredi, juillet 31st, 2013

Tim Montgomery writing in The Times July 29th 2013, proposes Five Ways to Widen the Tory Appeal and Win the next general election in 2015.

He assumes that by 2015, voters are likely to see the Tories as a party of deficit reduction, welfare control and Euro-scepticism. The party’s 2015 election campaign would then need to reinforce these strengths as well as counter an anticipated Liberal Democrat claim that, but for them in the Coalition, the Tories would have governed for the rich and powerful. Therefore, he suggests the five key pledges below for the next Tory manifesto which must also put concern for the lower-paid at its heart.

1. No more tax on petrol or home energy bills
2. A higher pension and a lower welfare cap.
3. Help for more first-time buyers to own their own home.
4. More apprenticeships for Britain’s youngest workers
5. A referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

These pledges are aimed at reaching more voters (e.g. private sector workers, home owners and the grey vote) than at the last election in 2010, while leaving the door open to the possibility of a second Lib-Dem Tory Coalition, instead of driving the Liberal Democrats into the arms of Labour.

The article also identifies other issues on which the Tories could still be vulnerable and which are generally the major concerns of voters such as the Economy, Health, Education and Immigration. However, on the major issue for the Conservative party itself (but not necessarily the voters) of an EU referendum , the author could be considered rather optimistic in suggesting that by 2015 it is likely that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats will have matched Mr Cameron’s EU referendum promise to “trust the people”.

The risk still remains of the party descending into civil war over Europe e.g. if Mr Cameron has to compromise on his EU referendum pledge during Coalition negotiations in 2015. The Conservative party also needs to more clearly differentiate itself from UKIP by not linking the issue of uncontrolled immigration to membership of the EU.

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.