“I don’t think this is going to be popular but it really is needed……”
“It’s a follow-on from the following links about the NHS courtesy of Channel 4 News:……….”
The gluttony of the welfare state gorging itself on billions of pounds was not what the Father of the NHS & Welfare State (WS), Clement Attlee, Earl Attlee as he was to become, had in mind, not in this universe, but perhaps in a parallel universe where money really does grow on trees. For those that aren’t well versed on the formation of the NHS & WS, it was the implementation of the Beveridge Report by the Labour Party post WWII, led by Earl Attlee. The Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Social Insurance and Allied Services, known commonly as the Beveridge Report was an influential document in the founding of the Welfare State in the UK. It was chaired by William Beveridge, an economist, who identified five “Giant Evils” in society:
The Report went on to propose widespread reform to the system of social welfare to address these. Highly popular with the public, the report formed the basis for the post-war reforms known as the Welfare State, which included the expansion of National Insurance and the creation of the National Health Service.
This formation was to eradicate poverty and improve health and social care and was a truly wonderful step forward that would support the most needy. It was one of those events in history that should be taught to every child in our nation, as it saved millions of lives, especially of those who were most vulnerable. It was formed and rolled out in a world where unemployment was low and taxable revenue was high, the income from National Insurance was also high from the working age, and the need for support was comparatively low. This was the golden age of the NHS & WS in the 1950’s and 60’s, but then change occurred in a Britain, a Britain that had forgotten the values of the Beveridge report & its ‘Giant Evils’, forgetting what the NHS & WS was really for – only the most needy. By the end of the 1970’s Britain went through unprecedented social and economic change under Margaret Thatcher. Recession after recession hit, it even had a nickname – “Boom and Bust” was born, but healthcare improved nonetheless but less people paid NI and more people used the WS & NHS. The balance was gone and as each year progressed the number of people being in receipt of not just support but being handed money grew substantially compared to the number using the WS in the 1950’ and 60’s, well out of proportion to the increase in population that also occurred.
Then the real damage occurred in 2008 with the biggest economic collapse the world had ever experienced. As it unfolded across country after country it was like the plagues of the Bible ravishing the land of commerce, and yet the bills for the WS & NHS continued to rise out of control. However, the situation was far worse than one could ever have imagined and compounded by people living longer, surviving devastating injuries, all needing support from the state for longer and in ever increasing complexity/expensive packages of care. The ‘running-partner’ to this increased longevity was the increased number of long term claimants, combined with the daddy of all recessions and you have a horizon which shows the NHS, the WS and the Country becoming bankrupt. Yes, there are many more factors to the problem but the bottom line is that the demands on the NHS and WS outstrips the amount of money available both now and certainly in the future. This is where the Coalition comes in and cuts back as viciously as they are vigorous for demanding 10’s of billions are saved year on year, with their Pit-Bull called ATOS snapping at the heels of the disabled.
Unfortunately they are right, the bill has to be cut, the expenditure driven down hard, the number of claimants dropped and the amount claimed reduced. This is of course unpalatable, whilst we all support the targeting of the abusers of the ‘system’, the Government seems intent on alienating all disabled people, all people claiming benefits lawfully, and let’s not forget the ‘Silver’ generation being hit by the stark rise in the cost of living. A review of who gets what is of course okay, tackling the generations of unemployment claimants is welcome, but it must be done with sensitivity and not with a lump hammer courtesy of the French ATOS toolkit. But this is where the Conservatives run into trouble, sorry more trouble, they keep using that phrase. “We’re all in this together”, a phrase no one now believes, some are more in this than others.
Never in the wildest nightmares of Earl Attlee or Beveridge & his ‘Giant Evils’ did they envisage that so many could claim so much for doing so little, but there is another ‘evil’ within the Welfare State, Universal Benefits. The phrase is so benign but the reality is so ridiculous in this era of austerity, when on earth did Earl Attlee or Beveridge think it was okay to give millionaires child benefit, bus passes, winter fuel allowances, free TV licences, state pensions, free prescriptions, free eye tests and the list goes on. When did Earl Attlee and Beveridge state it was fine for families able to support themselves independently of the state be given a number of Universal Benefits when people who are paralysed from the neck down are sent to get a job as a Panel Beater, because their lives are obviously not hard enough. Just because Cameron said he would not touch Universal Benefits in the run up to the election, an election where he did not exactly get a full throated mandate from the Country. So why is this any different Prime Minister Cameron? Your Government have done more U-turns than I can count, even making trains do a U-turn. So do a U-turn on this and stop Universal Benefits (UBs), that insult Earl Attlee, as we both know that UBs was never ever intended.
We have to go back to the original principles of only the most needy being the ones getting State Benefits and support. This is not easy but it is necessary. We have people sleeping on the streets, children abused and starving, families in crisis, significantly disabled people trying to live as independently as possible, all deserving of everything the State can do to help them, a duty to do all they can to improve their lives. So where does it say it is ok to give away millions every month to people who do not need UBs – it just does not make sense. To quote Judge Judy (we all have our little foibles), “if it doesn’t make sense then stop it cause its nonsense”, and this nonsense costs the tax payer billions every year in UBs. Time for a U-turn!
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