In response to my blog ' I Am Against Food Bank's', I received an email from a gentlemen who wanted to point out what was wrong with our welfare system. He ended his email stating that he feared he was wasting his breath on me. In fact he wasn't and reaffirmed my view of the need for reform.
The Labour Party and some on the left are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to helping those most in need and raising the living standards of the poorest in our society. I'd like to pose the question of what has the Labour Party done for the people they say the government are letting down?
The answer is very simply trapping people on welfare and removing any chance of aspiration that they have.
In 1997 the Welfare Bill was £93.3 billion. In 2007 it stood at £156.5 billion with Housing Benefit accounting for £13.5 billion of that. It's easy to blame 'evil landlords' for high rents so why didn't they invest that money on building social housing as my Conservative administration is doing in Crawley? Why not solve the problem rather than just simply throwing more and more tax payers money at private landlords. Although I would hasten to add don't forget these 'evil landlords' pay tax and indirectly create lots of jobs for people in the building trade and related industries.
Did living standards greatly increase with a 67% increase in welfare spending or the introduction of working tax credits for instance? In reality not really and basically it let employers off the hook of paying decent wages. Instead tax payers ended up subsidising jobs. It also removed the incentive for many to go for promotion due to the fact they'd lose tax credits and might be worse off in the short term. Removing aspiration. Why didn't they promote the living wage when in office?
Let's not even start with immigration and the effects that's had on wages and housing. I'm not against immigration in the slightest but without investment in infrastructure and control on the numbers, we have ended up with a situation that has allowed parties such as UKIP to play the blatant racist card and actual gain an almost expectable place in our political system.
Let's just take Labours opposition to the 'right to buy' scheme. Why should council tenants not be able to buy their own house, instead of paying rent to their Local Authorities and receiving nothing back for it. With this scheme individuals can make an investment for their futures and for their children's future's. Instead Labour are simply happy to hold people back and keep them under the thumb.
The benefit cap where household receipt of some benefits is now limited to £26,000 pa is pointed at being a bad thing and that some cannot longer afford to live in London. Guess what I work and I cannot afford to live in London. What was the incentive to go out to work (if you can of course) when realistically there was no point when you could receive welfare of over £50,000 pa. Labour were simply trapping people into a life time of welfare and no aspiration.
The welfare benefit crack down that will compel many long-term Job Seekers Allowance claimants to work for their money, along with many claimants expected to attend daily sessions at job centres to make sure they are doing all they can to find work. Is opposed by Labour as are welfare sanctions. What is wrong with helping people back into work and making sure they don't fall into the trap of long-term unemployment? What is wrong with sanctions if claimants miss appointments? I know if I'm late for work I'll lose a days pay. These reforms are designed to help not hinder.
Labour's opposition to the under occupancy charge is the worst piece of hypocrisy I've ever heard. If they are so opposed to this change why then did they bring it in for private tenants receiving housing benefit in 2007? Why do they not wish to help the hundreds of thousands in over crowded accommodation when others have spare rooms? They certainly didn't build more social houses, so from that I take it they don't care and just rather use the issue as a political football. Let's be clear as well. Pensioners, people with disabled children, houses adapted for specific requirements etc are exempt from this change and those most in need will be receiving discretionary housing payments to cover the cost.
There are so many examples where the Labour Party and some on the left would rather control people through welfare, instead of helping people get off state handouts and in doing so have aspiration for a better life for them and their children.