Why David Cameron's welfare plans will mean a fairer deal for taxpayers

June 25, 2012 3:02 PM

Many column inches have been taken up in the papers today considering David Cameron's speech on the welfare system, in which he proposes further ways to reduce the burgeoning benefits bill.

Today’s Independent (not a fan of the proposals, by the way) summarises them thus:


  • Removing or restricting some benefits from out-of-work families with large numbers of children. This could include cuts to child benefit;

  • Scrapping housing-benefit payments to 380,000 under-25s, worth an average of £90 a week, forcing them to support themselves or live with their parents and saving the Government £2 bn a year;

  • Making the long-term unemployed carry out full-time community work or lose all their benefits.



The nation's welfare bill currently comes in at about £165 billion per year, accounting for a massive chunk of the money we each annually hand over to the Treasury in tax.

No-one would dispute that the most vulnerable and least well-off people in society should be afforded support through the benefits system. But any sense of cohesion is in danger of breaking down when net contributors to the system feel they are subsiding a lifestyle for those on benefits which they cannot afford for themselves.

Various commentators have hit upon that idea of scrapping housing benefit for the under-25s as “nasty” or “uncompassionate”; yet the reality is that thousands of young adults these days are staying on living in their parental home after college or university as they enter the world of work, until they can afford to rent or buy a property of their own.

Is it really that unreasonable to suggest that their hard-earned tax pounds should not be spent subsidising homes for their contemporaries which they cannot afford for themselves?

Broadly, David Cameron’s proposals are to be welcomed, although progress in implementing changes to the welfare system is notoriously slow: the measures announced in the Coalition agreement of May 2010, which finally passed into law earlier this year, will not take effect until October 2013 – three and a half years after they were first announced.

So, if anything, the Government needs to be urged to act faster in addressing these issues.

Click the video above for a brief excerpt of the interview I did on Sky News this morning on the plans.Many column inches have been taken up in the papers today considering David Cameron's speech on the welfare system, in which he proposes further ways to reduce the burgeoning benefits bill.

Today’s Independent (not a fan of the proposals, by the way) summarises them thus:


  • Removing or restricting some benefits from out-of-work families with large numbers of children. This could include cuts to child benefit;

  • Scrapping housing-benefit payments to 380,000 under-25s, worth an average of £90 a week, forcing them to support themselves or live with their parents and saving the Government £2 bn a year;

  • Making the long-term unemployed carry out full-time community work or lose all their benefits.



The nation's welfare bill currently comes in at about £165 billion per year, accounting for a massive chunk of the money we each annually hand over to the Treasury in tax.

No-one would dispute that the most vulnerable and least well-off people in society should be afforded support through the benefits system. But any sense of cohesion is in danger of breaking down when net contributors to the system feel they are subsiding a lifestyle for those on benefits which they cannot afford for themselves.

Various commentators have hit upon that idea of scrapping housing benefit for the under-25s as “nasty” or “uncompassionate”; yet the reality is that thousands of young adults these days are staying on living in their parental home after college or university as they enter the world of work, until they can afford to rent or buy a property of their own.

Is it really that unreasonable to suggest that their hard-earned tax pounds should not be spent subsidising homes for their contemporaries which they cannot afford for themselves?

Broadly, David Cameron’s proposals are to be welcomed, although progress in implementing changes to the welfare system is notoriously slow: the measures announced in the Coalition agreement of May 2010, which finally passed into law earlier this year, will not take effect until October 2013 – three and a half years after they were first announced.

So, if anything, the Government needs to be urged to act faster in addressing these issues.

Click the video above for a brief excerpt of the interview I did on Sky News this morning on the plans.

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