Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

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Archive for the category “social security”

Single Mothers/Single Parents

The following could equally apply to single fathers of course but most often it is single mothers whether through choice or of fathers not having the guts or willingness to shoulder their responsibilities that are the concern of this blog.

I have long pondered the societal problem of young women who find themselves pregnant either deliberately or by ‘accident’ through unprotected sex and when deciding to go ahead and give birth expect society to pick up the bill and pay an enormous cost in welfare benefits for many years. The State provides ‘the morning after pill’ for that moment of panic next day when the thought of what if comes to mind, failing which counselling is available when another choice, again provided freely by the State, of abortion is an option.

If despite those options the decision to continue with the pregnancy is made then we, society at large, will have to support both mother and child for at least 18 years maybe more if the offspring goes to university. We cannot deprive the child of equal opportunity. Single parents usually jump the housing queue which is grossly unfair on those who patiently wait but frankly there is little we can do about that apart from building sufficient homes which successive governments have been unwilling to do but that’s another story. To get pregnant is a fast track to your own home is a well known route for many young women as is not having to bother to get a job for many, many, years. It cannot be right that choosing to have a baby is rewarded with the security to play on Snap chat or Instagram while everyone else is working to pay for it or is actively seeking work.

A possible solution occurred to me recently when feeling disgusted at the fees now charged to university students, why not a similar scheme for single parents? So yes we’ll have to provide a home, yes, we’ll have to financially support the mother and child BUT when the child reaches five years we will expect and demand that the mother seeks at least part time employment and half the earnings will be taken back in extra taxation. At aged eleven we will expect full time working and the same half taken in tax as during this time benefits will continue as before which eliminates a lot of paper work while at the same time providing incentive. When the child or children reach independence then extra tax taken at say, 5% of net income taken for the rest of working life as the hundreds of thousands it has cost is unlikely to ever be repaid in full. Going after fathers who fail to pay is for another time.

I welcome comments and suggestions.

 

 

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The Cameron Cancer

Would you pay £47.51 for a chicken? Of course not! If the cost of chickens had increased at the same rate the same rate as house rentals over the last 30 years that is what you’d be paying.

A majority of people believe that benefits should be cut, they have swallowed the Tory lies. Housing benefit rose by £1 billion last year and you are lead to believe that it went to the lazy workshy or to single mothers or to drug addicts. In fact 98% went to people who are actually in work! The continuing shortage of housing and landlords greedily ripping off the State are the reasons behind this incredible increase; to cut benefits is to tackle the problem from completely the wrong end.

Cameron’s answer is to compel thousands of our fellow citizens to move hundreds of miles from their homes, their friends and families, and to drag children away from their schools. Under 25’s to be forced to go home to their parents after further education or training rather than starting employment (if they can find any) on low wages because they simply can’t afford a roof over their head. This is the economics of the madhouse.

The arrogance of this extremely wealthy Prime Minister beggars belief, in that he thinks that by kicking away the crutch of a cripple it will make him walk. He cannot countenance the real solution as this would possibly affect his and his rich friends grasp on the national wealth. Embark on a massive house building program which not only employs building workers but also manufacturing by way of the building materials but also every new home will need carpets, curtains, furniture, the list is almost endless, creating even more jobs. Rents to be controlled by law and the National Minimum Wage increased substantially to catch up with what it should be worth. This would also put more of the burden onto employers rather than the tax payers.

It was announced today that government borrowing for the month of May increased by £2 billion more than expected due mainly to lower tax receipts. What the hell do they expect? 2.6 million out of work and 1.4 million in part time work wishing they were in full time employment and therefore not paying any or very little income tax. This regime is a cancer spreading over our land and the only therapy that will work is to cut it out and soon.

Benefits – Wrong Cuts

The Bishops .in particular, in the House of Lords are speaking out against the proposed Welfare benefit cuts and putting aside the fact that Bishops are un-elected and should have no place in our law making process, they are right to do so.

Yes there is a problem with too much being paid out but this is not the fault of the claimants at whom the government likes to point the finger of blame. As usual governments and particularly Tory ones, wear blinkers and always react by hitting the weakest hardest rather than looking more deeply into a problem. Stopping just short of naming them as ‘scroungers’ ministers speak of them as ‘getting’ £25000, £35000 + per year but let’s just pause and think for a moment. Who is actually ‘getting’ this largesse? A not uncommon rent in London and other large cities could be £300 per week which equates to nearly £16,000 in a year and this goes to Landlords who are generally investment companies and rich individuals taking advantage of a cronic housing shortage and the, so far, willingness of the welfare system to keep paying. It is the Landlords who are ‘getting’ the payouts not the claimants.

Tackle the greed of landlords, tackle the housing shortage and there will be no need to uproot people, to risk family breakdown and impose intolerable stress on individuals. These proposals should be fought  with as much vigor as was the Poll Tax but I doubt it will happen. The Poll Tax affected everyone, these proposals affect only a weak and demonised minority.

Compensation Culture & the NHS

Unfortunately the UK is well down the road to becoming a litigious society suing whenever the opportunity arises in order to achieve cash compensation for what in most cases is a genuine accident or an unintentional error on someone’s part. Probably the worst example must the NHS where something like £800million is paid out each year from a now cash strapped yet still brilliant service.

Apart from the rare as hen’s teeth rogue nurse or doctor, I think we can agree that no one in the health service actually wants to do any harm to a patient and indeed, positively wants a good outcome. In any organisation, particularly one as big as the NHS, from time to time things will go wrong, mistakes will happen and only a fool would believe that perfection is possible, although, of course, that is what should be the aim as that way lies continuing improvement.

What to do when things do go wrong? Obviously the patient must have the best possible treatment to put right, wherever possible, any damage. Where serious injury has been caused requiring long term care or even adaptations to the home or mobility needs then these are already covered by our health and social security systems at no cost to the individual. In parallel an investigation into the cause(s) of the error should be carried out with no threat of financial penalties to the establishment concerned followed by full and public disclosure of the report including what measures have been taken to improve the system.

No amount of money will take away pain or discomfort or, in extremis, loss of a limb and as stated, the State will provide all that is necessary to cope with the future. Therefore Government should pass a law making it impossible to sue the NHS for monetary reward and thereby freeing up some £800million each year to improve the health service including accident prevention.

On a final note it may seem that the NHS must be absolutely appalling if it pays out that much compensation annually. In reality it pays out in many cases ‘without admitting liability’ rather than face huge costs and time fighting in the courts defending actions brought hoards of unscrupulous lawyers only too happy to scrounge off society.

Manifesto You Wont See (Mine)

DEFENCE: We believe that threatening the annihilation of millions of fellow humans is wrong so we are getting rid of all nuclear weapons. This will make us less of a threat and so reduce our risk of attack. We will also save billions of Pounds.

We will have a review of the past few hundred years to see just why we have rampaged around the globe engaging in acts of aggression and stop doing it. Our military services will have only defensive weapons and therefore we will finally pose no threat to any other nation thereby further reducing our risks to near zero.

HOUSING: No further second homes will be allowed and existing ones will pay treble Council Tax until there are no more homeless or sub standard housing. All private property will become State owned on the demise of the current owners. (This will reduce house prices enormously and make them affordable places to live in and not investments for profit)

ENERGY: Rail, Electricity supply, Gas and Water will be re-nationalised.

WAGES & BENEFITS: All State benefits (except unemployment) will be cancelled and in their place the national minimum wage will be raised to a level fit to live on, along with pensions. There will be no unemployment benefit on leaving education until at least two years of employment have been completed. Benefit will be earnt by community service to prevent drifting into benefit dependency. No one will be allowed to earn more than ten times the minimum wage and bonuses will be outlawed. A fair days pay for a fair days work will be the norm.

TRANSPORT: Cities and urban areas with good public transport will be subject to an extra vehicle tax similar to the London congestion charge. Money raised will offset fuel reductions to those in rural areas where personal transport is essential.

DEMOCRACY: A good idea which will be adopted starting with an elected Head of State rather than an unelected monarchy. The second chamber shall also only have elected members. A fair voting system will be adopted where no vote is a wasted vote.

All connections between religion and the State shall be severed and all tax advantages currently applied to churches, mosques etc will end.

CRIME: All drugs will be de-criminalised and available on prescription thereby cutting up to 70% of crime. This will have the added benefit of slashing the prison population which doesn’t work anyway and saving huge sums of money.

The creation of a more fair and equal society would of itself reduce the incidence of crime. The current method of sentencing is ineffective, there being no point in a fixed time inside, therefore custodial terms will be opened ended. That is to say when it is considered the offender is ready to take his/her proper productive place back in society then they are released with adequate support and not before.

EDUCATION: Management costs will be no more than 1% of the budget and teachers will revert to running the schools and colleges. Choice of school will be abolished and all schools will be of an approved standard in all areas. University fees will be abolished but a small lifetime increase in income tax will enable graduates the satisfaction of repaying society for the privilege.

Private education establishments will be abolished by ever increasing taxation.

HEALTH: Management costs as for education. Medical staff taking more responsibility for running hospitals and clinics etc. A State pharmaceutical research facility will be set up and tight controls put on those in the private sector. Drugs which are highly expensive and merely prolong life by months will not be available.

Private health care will be abolished by progressively rising taxes.

LAND: All land will be nationalised without compensation and a rent paid for all private property upon it.

More Thatcher than Thatcher

The latest unworkable idea to emerge from this government is announced by  James Purnell on behalf of the Department of Health and Department for Work and Pensions. Simply put it is that if an alcoholic does not accept ‘treatment’ then his or her benefits will be withheld.

Let’s take this a step or two further. Drug addicts who refuse treatment also to have their benefits slashed, well that’s already underway. Overweight people could also have benefit problems if it affects their ability to accept certain employment prospects. Smokers could be refused treatment as could people with sports injuries because let’s face it they don’t have to participate.

Alcoholics, drug addicts and smokers etc can only be helped if they want to be helped and no amount of benefit threats will bring about this desire and in fact will mitigate against that state of mind. If the targets of this ridiculous idea do indeed end up without a means of financial support what will they do? The answer is obvious, either they will starve to death on the streets or they will turn to crime in order to survive.

Politicians generally have a knack of answering the wrong questions. The real question is of course WHY so many of our citizens turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place and then solve that, which of course is a lot less easy than bashing the victims.

New Benefits Plan

The Government is to bring in new rules and systems for people on unemployment or disability benefits. The Tories have already offered their support which is not surprising as it is the kind of plan that the Tories would come up with rather than what we should expect from a Labour Government.

As with all these types of plan it seems reasonable on the face of it. If after a reasonable amount of time you won’t or can’t find work then you will be made to do community work in order to continue receiving the benefit. The work will be such things as cleaning graffiti off walls, litter picking etc. This will of course go towards decreasing the availability ‘real’ jobs and I can’t see for example, an unemployed I.T. consultant or ex company director doing this work, it will be the ‘ordinary’ people. The clever ones will work their way onto the proposed higher level of benefit for those not expected to be able to find work for one reason or another.

Some people of course do get into a rut of not working and they need encouragement. The trouble is, as usual, the problem is looked at from the wrong perspective. It is not that benefits are too high but that the incentive to work is too low. The minimum wage is not sufficient for the average person to have a decent lifestyle by today’s standard and couple this with the obscene salaries and bonuses paid to those at the higher end of the pay scale it’s not hard to see where the problem lies. The shift of wealth from those who have little, to those who already have much has increased exponentially for decades and even more so under the present government.

Oh by the way, this whole idea, endorsed by the Government, comes from David Freud, an investment banker!

The other part of this proposed plan is to force drug addicts onto rehabilitation programmes or they too will have their benefits stopped. Ask any psychologist or anyone with knowledge of the mind and they will confirm that you can’t force people into rahab. they must want it or it just doesn’t work. Given that the majority of crimes are committed to pay for drugs then stopping benefits will obviously increase crime. Politicians never seem to think anything through.

It is easy of course to make a show of clamping down on those unorganised, voiceless and powerless members of our society who need help rather than to tackle the inequalities, the wealthy tax cheats, those who send their money to tax havens and who can afford accountants to ensure that they contribute as little as possible to the common good. Margaret Thatcher stills rules, simply changed her name to Gordon Brown.

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