I have long been disgusted by the number of people in this country who feel that it is their right to claim benefits. Whilst I realise that there are some people who cannot work due to illness or disability, what really annoys me is the growing number of people who could work but choose not to. I read this article that sums this up nicely.
It highlights a case of one family where three generation have never worked and from their comments it seems they never intend to. In this particular example the family of ten people consists of four adults, none of whom work. They do not see this as a problem, instead they are dissatisfied with their three bedroom council house and feel that they should be provided with a ten bedroom home, no doubt so they can produce yet more children who will also have to be provided for by the state. The grandmother says that the reason they cannot work is because there are so many children to look after. Call me stupid if you like, but does it really take four adults to look after six children? It seems to me, that at least three of the adults should be able to get a job. What I find shocking is that there are 20,000 similar households in Britain that pocket more than £30,000 a year in benefits.
Another example in this article highlights the case of a lady who has not worked for over 40 years. She has three grown up children, two of which are also on benefits and seems to think that this way of life is acceptable. In fact she says of her situation “My own dad worked down the pit, but my mum didn’t work, so I suppose I wanted the same life that she had when I grew up. I just wanted to be at home and live off other people.” Her son Steven has a similar attitude. Although he did initially have a job as a plumber he gave it up because “They paid £27 a week, but it was so boring looking at pipes and sinks all day. When I told my dad I was bored, he said I should never stick with a job I didn’t like.” He also says “So, eventually, in my 20s, I thought: “I’ve tried security work and plumbing and I’ve even been a taxi driver for six months, but I just don’t like working” and “It’s my right to claim benefits. We’re all entitled to do what we want in life.” I completely sympathise with this view (sarcasm) I don’t like working either but what about the right of the tax payer not to have to subsidise these people who just can’t be bothered to get a job. We see the pattern continuing with Stephen’s daughter who seems to think that it is normal to live off of benefits. She too has left school without any qualifications and has claimed benefits ever since. She says “Because my gran, Jean, didn’t work either then I suppose it’s just normal in our family not to have jobs” and “I don’t like the idea of having to be bossed around at work and I don’t want to go to college or anything because I like to stay in bed in the morning. In the meantime, it’s my right to claim benefits. One day I’d like a council flat.” There is little hope, then for the fourth generation of this family.
The article has reinforced my view that there is a new underclass (rather than working class) of people in this country that feel they have a right not to work and should still be provided for by the rest of us that do work. The question is can we change the way these people think, especially when the attitude is passed down through generations. I suppose it annoys me so much because I was brought up with a strong work ethic and personally would rather take a job, no matter how menial or boring, for me claiming benefits is fundamentally wrong. I have been mulling over how the problem can be solved. Should benefits be reduced to such a level that are no longer adequate to support a family and thus encourage people to get a job, or would this just hurt the people that do really need them? Perhaps a form of tax relief for those on lower incomes might help, after all it is near impossible to live on an income of £12,000 or £13,000 and that’s before the tax man takes his cut. I also wondered what would happen to these people if the benefits system was suddenly withdrawn. If they had no income, would it force them into work? What I find most surprisingly of all is that this issue seems to be largely ignored by politicians. Perhaps the money spent on benefits is small when compared with other issues such as defence spending of money put into the health service but it can’t be good for a country to have such a large proportion of its potential workforce being supported by state and in effect by the hard working taxpayer.