I am sure most of you will be aware of the recent implementation of a benefits cap, restricting the amount of benefit people can receive to £500 a month for families and £350 for single people. What concerns me about this cap is it does nothing except exert further pressure on families who are already hard pressed as it stands. Consequently, benefit fraud will undoubtedly increase, and this has the potential to further demonize all benefit receivers, many of whom are considered and referred to as “scroungers” and “parasites”. This is greatly unjust, as the benefit system is not limited to unemployment benefit, and many benefit receivers are also in work.
In fact, if there are “parasites” in this country, look no further than the so-called 1%, the bonus-crunching bankers and executives who evade tax with off-shore bank accounts and island tax evasion schemes, richer under the Coalition government than ever before!
Let’s look at the figures. The cap will save approximately 110 million pounds a year. In an atmosphere of austerity, any savings are heralded as positive, but when you compare this figure to the overall budget deficit or, for example, the amount required to renew the Trident nuclear weapons program, another very contentious issue (£130 billion), it fades in comparison. Another “fact” often quoted is that people on benefits are receiving as much as, and sometimes more than, people in full-time employment, and in fact the rectification of this is the stated reason for the benefit cap, however this idea is flawed, as people in full-time work can also receive many of the benefits affected. A cap supposedly designed to make things fair for low-income families actually has negative effects for them as well.
So all in all, the cap is meaningless if you ask me. It’s just another Westminster trick to get us all blaming the poorest and most vulnerable in our society for our problems, rather than the people who got us into this mess in the first place, and continue to perpetuate the problems with the still-prevalent bonus culture and the lack of regulation in corporate affairs.
My next article will be on the privatisation of the Royal mail.