Good piece from Andrew Coates on yet another attempt to give benefit claimants a hard time, and one which is once again being promoted by people who would consider themselves to be on ‘the left’. Yesterday I discussed the awful Liam Byrne. Andrew’s story is wholly of a piece with Byrne’s nauseating, cheap populism.
The Mambo is pure of body and has no time for cigarettes and alcohol. However I’m also aware that other people do like the occasional fag or tipple and it is not for government to determine how people spend their (meagre) benefits.
It also buys into the convenient fiction that people on benefits are uniquely predisposed to fritter their money away as they are morally weak-which of course is why they are benefits in the first place. A horrible, cynical lie but one which serves a very useful political purpose. The truth of course is that the vast majority of people on benefits are just unlucky and are as adept at budgeting as the rest of us.
The Virtuous Poor.
Amongst their ideas, backed by the normal method of giving weight to hard-right schemes, a ‘poll’, is to introduce the Charity inspired system of ‘food vouchers’ in force in the United States.
Brian Wheeler of the BBC reports, (2nd October)
Should claimants be paid vouchers to stop spending on ‘vices’?
Should benefit claimants be prevented from spending the money given to them by the state on alcohol, gambling, cigarettes and other “vices”?
A poll commissioned by think tank Demos suggests most people would support such a move.
This has not met universal approval,
the findings have been met with horror by anti-poverty campaigners, who have questioned whether the British public really feel that way, or whether…
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