Can we be surprised?

I read that the Centre for Policy Studies has today published David Martin’s report into the UK benefits system.  The document, “Benefit Simplification – how and why it must be done” explains that around a quarter of the total cash available to our Government is being spent on payments to social security claimants.  Unsurprisingly, they call for a rethink of the whole benefits system.

I heard recently from a very informed source that the tax taken by Gordon Brown’s Government is currently just covering the amount paid out in benefits.  Clearly this is a time bomb waiting to explode; the numbers of working age adults is falling year on year, at the same time as the numbers of elderly and vulnerable people are rising sharply – as evidenced by the excellent report by Sir Derek Wanless.

It’s not rocket science – with taxation revenues falling and the quantum and sophistication of demand rising, the Government either need to increase the available revenue – through higher taxation – or reduce the demand by excluding growing numbers of people from  care and support.

It’s a mess and it’s getting worse.  But against a background of growing numbers of benefit fraudsters; a clear absence of robust control over claimants and a succession of headline-grabbing, short-term job creation schemes from the DWP, can we be surprised?

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2 Responses to Can we be surprised?

  1. Paul says:

    I seldom read blogs. I can scarcely find the time to proffer a view in response, let alone indulge any delusion of self importance by starting one. However, I fell upon your blog by chance, and you have raised my hackles. Yes, a large proportion of Government revenue does support our welfare system – are you surprised ? In the 21st Century we no longer have workhouses, debtors’ prisons, malnourished children, and institutions to house those who, in these ‘enlightened’ times, can manage independent lives with a degree of support. Large South American cities are a good paradigm of life without welfare support. Spend your next holiday there, and get a taste ! Of course, we have benefit cheats, and an imperfect system.
    But, why not target those unscrupulous MP’s, who have robbed the revenue of vast income through devious and inventive expense claims, or those ignoble Peers who have deceitfully claimed vast sums from the revenue, for spurious main residences ? Sadly, there is no such thing as a perfect system. As for the cheats, they are far outnumbered by those in genuine need of support. Not everyone Mr Lynes was granted the genetic gift of your acumen, and able to massage their ego with a grand CV, the likes of ‘About Kevin’. For many deserving claimants life is a daily struggle, which you and your family will hopefully never endure. These folk are overwhelmingly deserving, and, unable to manage your gift of eloquence. They would probably adumbrate your CV as ‘A Smartarse’. Brevity does have a value ! Moving on, we read that you consider Sir Derek Wanless’ report ‘excellent’. I am sure you are widely read, and will be aware that Sir Derek was a Non-Executive Director of Northern Rock. You will of course know that the All Party Commons Treasury Select Committee held several meetings to fathom lessons and culpability from the crisis, which culminated in their Northern Rock report – it is all there on the internet. Sir Derek, as Head of Risk, was found highly culpable for his lack of prudent oversight, and judgemental failings. That conclusion was endorsed by the Government, and every authoritative financial reporter. How many welfare claimants may now be in work, were it not for the ‘Wanless factor’ at Northern
    Rock ? To say that you find the Wanless wisdom ‘excellent’ is to make Wanless a Curate’s egg. The moral of that tale, is that if one part of the egg is tainted; then it is all tainted. The Curate made himself look foolish by poking around looking vainly for the good bits. I am sorry, although the objective view of many is that the Wanless judgement has been found flawed, and the pasture beckons. You may hold a different view, although it is my prerogative to disagree – I believe they call it democracy. I trust that you retain comments of every hue and shade on your blog, and do not rush to remove any pejorative text.

  2. charles says:

    Interesting comments above(Paul says 10 August),and I must empathise. Kevin, you refer to ‘growing claimant fraudsters and more robust control of claimants required’. Yes, of course, although first look around you Kevin. Any psychologist will tell you that an inate response in any parent, when confronted with abject poverty, would be to steal to feed their children. That excuse cannot be afforded to the well healed, for whom theft is unmitigated greed. Your ‘Home site’ proudly reveals you alongside Paul Carter, Roger Gale MP and Caroline Speldman MP. Paul Carter has been criticised for his Council expenses, which have been reported in the region of £60,000 pa, Roger Gale has been criticised for his own expenses (which included nearly £1000 for a television)and he is also an apologist for the ‘fiddling’ and contemptible Derek Conway. Caroline Spelman was last year forced to repay nearly £10,000 to the revenue, following dodgy claims. So you see Kevin – whilst the perception fostered by your comments, is that Government revenue leeches are Council estate ‘Onslow’ stereotypes, with de rigueur shell suit, roll up fag, and gaggle of feral children, living on false welfare claims, they are small beer bellies compared to the likes of some of your acquaintances ? Life is all about perceptions Kevin – so please correct this one via your blog !

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