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Being For the Benefit of Mr Cam
By Phil Thornton
It's come as no surprise that the new Tory government has set its sights on that perennial target of middle english rage; ye olde benefit cheat (or 'thief' as they're now termed). Not that New Labour were any better, targeting the millions falsely claiming disability and housing benefits and ensuring the most outrageous examples of jiving cripples and marathon running MS sufferers make the news with secret footage. Now, no-one's saying these people shouldn't be chased up it's just that the mphasis is always on the usually low paid not the billions lost to the inland revenue in dodgy offshore tax accounts and legal loopholes employed by the super rich to avoid paying their share, not to mention the billions of cash payments nevr declared to the tax man by millions of self employed Tory tradesmen.
The biggest con of all however, is the idea that 'the welfare trap' is something that has happened by accident and not created by the very people who now bemoan the vast number of people parked on various disability benefits. I used to work for the old Dept Of Employment and later the Office for National Statistics compiling both employment and unemployment figures, so I know what an absolute joke these stats are and how they are manipulated by politicians to place their own spin on what's actually happening.
During the last Tory regime a disgraceful statistical sleight of hand removed millions from the official unemployment totals simply by reclassifying them as 'economically inactive' ie shoved onto Incapacity (Incap) and other benefits that no longer showed up in offical jobless totals. The new Jobseekers Allowance was paid only to 'job seekers' and jobcentre staff were encouraged to take people off Jobseekers to other benefits by having targets set as part of their duties. Incapacity benefits were usually more than JSA and not as strictly enforced so the con trick suited everybody; claimants, jobcentre staff and managers, politicians and governments.
In one fail swoop, an 'economic miracle' had happened first under John Major and then claimed by Tony Blair. It was all a lie ofcourse, a myth and a fallacy. Millions were parked onto incapacity benefits as a direct result of government policy in order to disguise the true level of unemployment in Britain and yet Blair continued to crow about the Anglo model of flexibility and growth to European partners. If the Incap chickens have come home to roost, then politicians have to take their share of the blame for creating the very 'dependency culture' that they're now enraged about.
Apart from the 2.5 officially unemployed people there is a massive 7-8 million who are 'economically inactive' which is a total that no amount of government propaganda can hide. If the Tories really want to get people off welfare and into work, where are these 10 millions jobs going to come from? Even if they adopt their threatened 'chaingang' schemes where you work for your benefits, instead of getting a wage for all this work that obviously needs doing, sooner or later they'll have to admit that such media centric measures will never achieve long term economic growth.
If the Tories really want to stop the 'money for nothing' culture let's start at the top with the billions spent on that notorious family of bone idle benefit scroungers, The Windsors. If it's good enough for Prince Charles and his kids to sponge off the state for the rest of their lives then it's good enough for families all over the country to sit back and cash their divvy dole cheques every month.
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