As many of us are struggling through these financial times, we often review our circumstances and determine how we can cut back on our costs. Though our governments are doing the same, I don’t think they are seeing the forest for the trees. Some articles in yesterday’s Telegraph printed some statistics that I cannot verify, so I will have to accept them as facts and will express my views on them.
One article talked about how mothers on benefits are not given incentives to get back to work. This has always been quite obvious to me. It is the same in the US. Before a woman decides to take a job, she has to work out how much it would cost her in transportation, daycare and other essentials to determine if it is even worth taking the job. If she can bring in a little extra money, she will take the job. If not, she will pass. For why would anyone want to work if it means you will lose money in doing so? The article pointed out that a mother on benefits gets paid more than working mothers in low paying jobs, after accounting for the extra costs in working. Mind you, these working mothers are not losing money, they are just bringing in less than the benefits mothers. So, which would you rather be? I guess some will argue that they would rather work than be on benefits, regardless of the pay. That is very commendable. But should we be giving more to benefits mother? Will this not discourage the lazier ones from working? We are not doing enough to reward the more productive members of society, and I do not mean the ones producing the most babies.
Another article reported that the DWP paid out 73 million GBP in benefits to dead people last year. What happened here? Was someone asleep at their desk? Or, perhaps, they were dead as well. At least 27 million of that will not be recoverable.
How about the article on compensating prisoners released early? The argument was that these prisoners were not allowed to claim benefits for the time they were in prison and if they had a certain limit on their savings, they would be compensated for the room and board they missed out on. Absolutely insane. These are criminals. We are rewarding them for being criminals. There are repeat offenders who love being in jail/prison because they get free room and board. Prisoners are not given hard time anymore, they are given big screen televisions, X-Box, art classes, books, exercise. Then those who are released early end up back in for committing another crime and get released with a little more money. It’s a ridiculous cycle. Today’s article about the MPs praising the Prison Service for saving 120 million GBP over 5 years by changing the way it buys goods and services, without compromising quality, does not detract from how much is being paid out to compensate prisoners.
Bonuses for Lloyds’ staff? As one person had pointed out, they should be thankful they have a job. Why did they push for the bonuses? Just because they expected it? Lloyds’ argument was that their side had shown a profit, so their staff should be rewarded. Yes, but Lloyds’ took on some debts and had to be bailed out as well. The government and press seem to highlight this story much more than the others, possibly as a diversion tactic.
So, how much do you suppose we can save if we reduce benefits, give them only to living people, who don’t break the law and don’t expect rewards for doing their jobs?