Benefit reform has come to the forefront of politics this past week. It is a vastly sensitive and complex issue one in which many people espcially it seems in our party over simplify. I want to start out by saying that most people on benefits are no scoungers but people in real financial need due to cirmcumstances. There is a dependancy problem that does need to be tackled. This blog does not seek to address that problem but proposes a new way of distributing benefit money.
There should be an injection of individual responsibility in the benefit system. i would propose that there be a reduction in the basic provision of benefit for everyone. However the claiment would then be able to top up that provsion considerably. This top up system for example could be linked to a criminal reccord those who have one recieve the basic, those without could get a bonus for not committing crime. In families this could be linked to the crimes of the children aswell. This would provide a better incentive for those parents who are shall we say have a laissez faire parenting style to not be.
Regarding education, those who are on benefits who take training courses could get a further bonus. This would allow them to gain new skills and self improvement to better enable themselves to participate in the working world. With regards to families i would propse a significant bonus for those children who do well at school both academically and behaviourally. This extra money would allow for example a single mother who does a good job in bringing up her children in adverse circumstances the means to pay for th school trip, or buy a laptop for the home, or to afford the internet. The idea is that those parents (often single) who do an outtanding job of raising their family should have the means to provide their children with the same opportunites as those from richer backgrounds. This money would do that. It could come with advice about how best to spend it on the educational needs of their children. This system would allow those parents who desperatly want to offer their children opportunities but cannot afford to the chance. On the flip side of the coin those children who do not behave at school; would at school recieve all the extra help they need, but their parents would not qualifiy for the bonus.
I can apreciate that this perhaps sounds harsh and unfair as even the best parent can have a wayward child but the state cannot support those who do not conform to societies standard behaviours. i think in many cases it is the poor parenting that is the root of poor educational attainment and that is not omething the state should not fund. There must be an incentive behind benefits so that people have something to aim for to strive for and to provide those that do well a reward.
Working in the community is something that we have already proposed however the key difference i propose is that this community work should be one of the bonuses. if the basic allowance was cut people would off their own backs sign up for these projects to earn the higher benefits.
With single young adults i would propose the bonuses be relativly small as they should be in work; but for those single mums who say are single because they have chosen to leave a violent relationship and now struggle to bring up their children the bonuse should be significant and would in real terms see a raise in benefits. The state should provide well for those who try their best to achieve betterment
This policy must go hand in hand with promotion of the family, sensible familiy planning, reduction in teen pregnacies so as to try and reduce the adverse circumstances people face. We should not begrudge paying more to provide for those doing well enabling them to afford the same opportunities for their children as middle class families can provide.
Those on long term benefits who are without children and have no real reason for living on benefits should have them stopped after 2-5 years. This would be incentive enough for them to find job. It is important to remember most people on benefits would rather not be, and because they get them they are not seocnd class citizens. There is far too much snobby judgementalism still left in our party which condemns those less fortunate. The vast majority of claiments often have a job or are in really desperate situations. The state however should not fund bad parenting or people who are not wokring for no reason.
Benefits should be earned, the potential net amount that can be earned should be much higher. This system gives people a motive to improve their lot. Either improving their children’s education which benefits society or improving their own education or communities.