Mr Tristram Hunt - an unlikely name for a Labour MP, writes in today's Ft on the iniquities of the coalition’s plans for welfare cuts. He invokes the ghosts Betty Higden, in Charles Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend and William Beveridge to pad out his arguments.
And whilst I completely agree that the abandonment of universal benefits is a dangerous step towards a more divided and intolerant society. What dear old Trisram doesn't get is that society is also at risk from the overly lax regime of targeted benefits that is increasingly funded by the few. Over a 30 year period in productive work a middle income earner (60k p.a.) will contribute £180k to the welfare pot, gaining only a fraction of this in return as a pension. This is unsustainable and the coalition is right to redress the balance.
The main problem is the awful mess that Brown created with his ridiculous splurge on tax credits.
The latest statistics show that 4.7 million families, containing 7.8 million children, were tax credit recipients or were receiving the equivalent child support through benefits. These families comprised:
4.1 million families with children receiving CTC, or the equivalent via benefits:
1.5 million in which no adult was in-work
1.8 million in-work receiving the maximum CTC, and also receiving WTC
0.8 million in-work receiving CTC only
0.5 million families in-work without children, receiving only WTC.
Tax benefits for the working poor paid by the better off sounds democratic but in fact it was / is just an electoral bribe