We have all heard about 'Benefits Britain' - a term given to the UK to mock its incredibly generous welfare system. Well, it seems that the Conservative government is still not getting very far in changing the 'soft' approach the country has adopted for so long...
Chelsea Press, a 23-year-old single, working mother visited her local council offices to assess her financial situation and check whether she was entitled to some extra benefits that would help ease her living expenses. Despite receiving little financial benefit from her current job, she enjoys it and wants to continue working. Commendable, yes? Well, according to the state official she spoke with, she would be "better off on benefits than [her] current job".
So, not only are the advisors, who should be encouraging this generation to find work, telling hard working single mothers like Chelsea Press that she is better of quiting her job and claiming benefits, but the system itself is completely at fault. It should not be the case that an employed person can earn more money claiming benefits than working part or full-time. No wonder so many people file excuse after excuse in order to get out of working! 'Benefits Britain'? More like 'Broken Britain'.
What does this attitude imply for the next generation and fresh graduates who aspire to enter the labor market?
If you earn more money on benefits, if you get a free house by getting pregnant, if you are 'rewarded' financially for each child you have while unemployed, then ofcourse the country is producing lazy people with no work ethic whatsoever. And who can blame those who shun work in favour of sitting at home watching TV and earning more than their hard working minimum wage neighbour?
Unfortunately, there is a mentality in the UK that promotes claiming welfare benefits over working, simply because it is more advantageous. Take Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim cleric who lives off the British welfare state. He was recorded urging his followers to leave their jobs and claim unemployment benefits. He also mocked Westerners for working in nine-to-five jobs for their entire lives saying: ‘People are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o'clock. They go to work at 9 o'clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o'clock, watch EastEnders , sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery!’
Is this really the mindset that the state should cultivate in order to encourage young people entering the workforce? In fact, why are foreign extremists permitted to remain in Britain, claiming benefits, when they are reeling off such hatred? Britain - get your act together and fast!
The state should invest in young people as they are the future of the nation’s workforce and provide them with with an authentic connection to work experience. By equipping them with soft as well as functional skills, including social, communication and creative skills, they will have a better chance of securing a well paid job later in life.Young people need to be socially aware that they have a responsibility to help contribute to the country's economy.
This is not to say that the government should be less supportive of those who genuinely struggle to find work or whom have been made redundant. Certainly not. We need to help these people to get back on their feet both in terms of their career and financially. Essentially, social benefits should have a specific function and not be arbitrarily given to people to ultimately cultivate a culture of passivity and laziness.
Whether UK’s social welfare state is effective is a debatable issue at the moment. What do you think? Please comment.
Photo - swns www.mirror.co.uk