Thoughts on welfare reform


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This talk was given to the Poverty Network at Dewsbury Minster to explore what is changing in the welfare state and what real welfare reforms might the Church wish to support.

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Thoughts on welfare reform

  1. 1. Thoughts on Welfare ReformDr Simon Duffy ■ The Centre for Welfare Reform■ 30th April 2013 ■ The Poverty Network
  2. 2. Logically, welfare reform impliesmaking the welfare state better.Is that what is happening?
  3. 3. ‘Austerity’ is notthe problem.
  4. 4. The financial crisis was notcaused by welfare spending.It was caused by over-lending toindividuals to support excessivehouse price growth.It is a bubble politicians cannotafford to burst.
  5. 5. Then did all the grants and the subsidies, the benefits and thebargain offers pass over these poverty-stricken peasants whenIngolfur Angersons ideals came to fruition? What is one to say? Itso happens that it signifies little though a penniless crofter beoffered a grant from the Treasury towards the cost of tractors andmodern ploughs...The fact is that it is utterly pointless to make anyone a generousoffer unless he is a rich man; rich men are the only people who canaccept a generous offer. To be poor is simply the peculiar humancondition of not being able to take advantage of a generous offer.The essence of being a poor peasant is the inability to avail oneselfof the gifts which politicians offer or promise and to be left at themercy of ideals which only make the rich richer and the poorpoorer.Halldor Laxness
  6. 6. Even if cuts arenecessary - there isno need to targetcuts like this...
  7. 7. £72 billion of cuts
  8. 8. Most cuts fallin two areas:
  9. 9. Child Benefit freezeAbolition of Sure Start Maternity for secondand subsequent childrenChange to CPI indexation of benefits Reductions in support for carersReplacing DLA with PIPChild Benefit clawback from higher ratetaxpayersTime-limiting of contributory ESA Transfer of Social Fund to local governmentCouncil Tax Benefit – 10% reduction andlocalisationExtension of JSA lone parents with ayoungest child aged 5-6Housing Benefit cuts Household Benefit capAbolition of the Independent Living Fund Continued use of ATOS or othersUniversal Credit Reductions in ‘Access to Work’ fundingClosure of Remploy services Abolition of the Child Trust FundTax credit changes Abolition of the Health in Pregnancy GrantAbolition of the Child Trust Fund Abolition of the ESA youth rules
  10. 10. 60% of local government cuts (£16.2 bn.) must fallon social care = approx. £9.5 bn. by 2015
  11. 11. Is this welfarereform or a waron welfare?
  12. 12. What is wrong with the welfarestate - if anything?
  13. 13. The current situation is confusedbecause many of us accept theneed for welfare reform......but reject the idea that thesechanges are real reforms.
  14. 14. The welfare state isa good thing,its just designedwrong.
  15. 15. Why the welfare state is good• Morality demands we create a fair society• Happiness demands security and freedom• Efficiency demands we use all our talents• Prudence demands we avoid fear & crisis
  16. 16. Fear and insecuritybreed scapegoating,terror, war &revolution
  17. 17. [The ill-fated Pruitt-Igoe housing project]But current design is rooted inthe paternalistic values of the1940’s - the state knows best.
  18. 18. The design is confusing anddamaging...
  19. 19. but it’s not too generous...
  20. 20. it’s not riddled with fraud...
  21. 21. and it’s not unfair to the rich.
  22. 22. It’s failing to tackle inequality
  23. 23. Therearemanyservices,butoftennosupport
  24. 24. It’s far too centralised
  25. 25. It’s very controlling
  26. 26. What kind of welfare state dowe really want?
  27. 27. Citizenship is the key to reform• Human rights at heart of system• Minimum universal securities as rights• Fair and integrated tax-benefitsystem• Individual freedom for all• Families and communities respected
  28. 28. 1.Join the Campaign for a Fair Societywww.campaignforafairsociety.org1.Subscribe to The Centre for Welfare Reformwww.centreforwelfarereform.org1.Twitter users can follow #fairsocietyIf you want to get more involved