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Welfare

     

Let us make it clear from the outset that unemployment benefit, the NHS, social housing, child benefit, state pensions etc are all good things. In this day and age any one of us could be made redundant, we will almost all end up in hospital at some time and most of us will spend our entire working lives supporting the state and should expect the state to look after us in retirement by right.
The trouble comes when this safety net is abused and you get entire generations in the same family that have learnt to play the system and are more than happy to have everyone else carry them through life.

One of the flagship policies we would introduce would be that after a reasonable time, like six months or a year, claimants would be required to work for their benefits rather than having them handed to them on a plate. We do not wish to ostracise the unemployed and indeed we believe that many would relish the opportunity to give back to the community. The sorts of jobs we are talking about are things like maintaining parks, tidying up the streets and particularly helping the elderly since with an ageing population the care of the elderly will become an increasingly pressing problem. We do not accept that this would be at the cost of council jobs and indeed would ensure that it would not be. The amount of hours the claimant would be required to work would be proportional to the benefits they were claiming. Obviously some sense would need to be applied to this, particularly with respect to parents of young children. Ideally we would like to see free child care in this country which would allow particularly single parents a way out of the poverty trap.

It is not just the claimants of benefits themselves that can abuse the system. Another policy that we are in favour of is reintroducing rent control. Up to 1989 rents in this country were controlled by the local authorities and housing benefit was costing the country one billion pounds a year. Mrs Thatcher in her infinite wisdom scrapped the system. What happened? Landlords could charge whatever they wanted and housing benefit now costs this country 20 billion pounds a year. Much of this money is flying out of the country to absentee landlords, never to be seen again. The other side effect of this (and the lunatic Thatcherite policy of selling of the countries stock of council housing) was that houses are now to all intents and purposes unaffordable to anyone trying to start off on the housing ladder. In Surrey you would be hard pushed to find anything bigger than a studio flat for less than £200,000.   No mortgage provider should lend more than four times salary (and that is a push) and I don’t know many teenagers earning £50,000 a year. This is a policy that would have to be implemented with care but it worked once and we believe could work again, saving the country many billions of pounds and gaining some control over house prices which have spiralled out of control.

 

       Published and promoted by Andy Lear 38 The Roundway, Claygate, Surrey, KT10 0DW
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