Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Focus on real welfare cheats who don't pay their taxes

There seems to be a growing government driven narrative toward means testing of benefits.  

On the face of it the idea that the better off should not be getting certain benefits could have appeal. Why should they afterall? The problem is that the initial move to remove benefits from the better off hits at the very essence of the welfare state, namely its universality.

The argument also amounts to a Trojan horse being driven into the heart of the welfare state. Once benefits are taken away from one group, the government will feel free to continue the process until they are taken away the benefits from everyone.

The attack on benefits is simply the latest attempt by government to dump the cost of the deficit on the poorest people in society. There has been a cynical effort by government to scapegoat those on benefits as somehow being scroungers. The strivers versus skivers, as millionaire Chancellor George Osborne likes to put it.

The reality is that many of those receiving benefits are in low paid work. The benefits like tax credits have operated as effectively a subsidy to bad employers to allow them to pay low wages. This is the welfare cheating that many of us would like to see the government addressing.

A further example of such scrounging is the failure of the large multinational companies to pay a fair share of tax in this country. So these companies use all the facilities in the UK to make huge profits, without contributing adequately in return.
It is these benefit scroungers that the government should be targeting. The introduction of a living wage and change in the tax laws to ensure that the big companies do pay their fair share would go some way to rectify the situation. Then the universality of the welfare state can be retained.

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