I had a bit of a scare reading through the press coverage of today’s White Paper on Universal Benefits. For a moment I thought that they’d added Child Benefit into the Universal Benefits, which the Tories propose would be claimed by one person in the household.
The very reason Child Benefit was always given to the mother was to prevent it being spent on beer and poker (seriously) and therefore more likely to actually reach the children. For many abused women, controlled through money by a dominating husband, Child Benefit is the only money they can claim that can help them and their children out of that situation. Allowing it to be wrapped up and claimed by what could be a violent husband would have been detrimental on a large scale.
So I breathed a big sigh of relief, took a sip of tea and promptly choked on it. What was that, Ian Duncan Smith?
“more than one in four working-age adults in the UK does not work, and at least 2.6 million people spent at least half of the last ten years on some form
of out-of-work benefit”
Um. Say what now? Last time I checked, which was about five minutes ago, unemployment was 2.45million. Those that are categorised as ‘inactive’ make up 9.28million, and over half of these are students or stay-at-home mothers/fathers. Other reasons for being inactive: retired early, sick/disabled, caring for family member, hasn’t arranged childcare yet but looking for work.
Currently, our working age population, as determined by the ONS in mid-2009, is 38.31million. Our employment rate is 70.7%, or 29.16million people aged 16-64.
I assuming that when Ian Duncan Smith says one in four does not work in a White Paper about benefits, he’s using the number of inactive people to imply serious work shirking in our nation.
I would like to call bollocks to that. For one things, not all inactive people are claiming benefits, nor are they refusing to work. For god’s sake, not even all unemployed people are claiming benefits. We also need people to be inactive, otherwise there would be no students or carers or stay-at-home parents, all of whom contribute to society and for another thing, appear to be doing the damn job of the Big Society just like Cameron asked.
I’m staggered at the Tories’ hypocrisy right now.
That one in four figure is just bunkum, pure and simple. He’s implying that people are dodging work when in fact they are working as carers etc for free, or learning skills to contribute to the economy, or have retired, or are disabled. To use them as a reason for stamping on benefit fraud or worklessness is misdirection and pandering to the Daily Mails of this world.
Utter tosh. Oh, and the 2.6million claiming an ‘out-of-work benefit’ for five years? Until I get a good definition of ‘out-of-work benefit’ I’m also calling hogwash on that. It looks like he’s lumping Jobseeker’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, State Pension, Widow’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance altogether and again making it look like they are living off the state and giving nothing back.
He’s trying to fool us with Snake Oil, but I sincerely hope that no one is buying this bullshit.