Welfare Reform will add to economy, not “take out”

A report from Sheffield Hallam University claims that Northern Ireland will be “hardest hit” by welfare reform. Absolutely on the contrary, what it proves is that the current system has failed Northern Ireland the most – giving up on thousands of people by leaving them dependent on hand outs and essentially disabling ambition and aspiration. That is the real outrage here.

The report adds that “Welfare Reform will take £750 million out of the Northern Ireland economy” a nonsensical headline which is insulting to the tax payers of Northern Ireland who contribute those millions in their taxes in the first place!

The whole objective of the welfare system from the outset was to provide an insurance system for those contributing to it – through hard-earned national insurance and other taxes – for when they fall on hard times. With very minor exceptions in the case of severe ill-health, it is not intended as a hand-out scheme to enable society to give up on thousands of people or even whole communities. The very basis of the system is that you must contribute to it in order to take from it.

So welfare reforms cannot possibly “take out” money from the economy because it was never contributed to it in the first place – the £750 million (or whatever the figure is) does not grow on trees, it is provided by hard-working tax payers in Northern Ireland (and its value is supplemented by heroic, unpaid carers and volunteers).

Working people already hit with vast mortgages and huge childcare costs need to be sure that the money they contribute to welfare goes to a system which works. Instead, whole parts of Belfast, Derry and Strabane have become essentially permanently divided into “contributors” and “recipients”. This means that entire neighbourhoods of people are simply given up on, with the cost for this outrage borne by ever squeezed hard-working people – and it means that this happens more in Northern Ireland than elsewhere in the UK.

In fact, welfare reform would see the link between contribution and receipt re-established. Far from being hardest hit, Northern Ireland has most to gain.

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2 thoughts on “Welfare Reform will add to economy, not “take out”

  1. Kieran says:

    I’ve said for many years that the Government and their lackeys in the media are quick to highlight the so called ‘Benefit Scroungers’ as the plughole in the bath of public money. In general, those genuine benefit scroungers are in the minority but the Govt and media like us to focus on this section of society as it deflects from their own failings.
    That said, there is only so much criticism you can level at the Government before you realise that they are impotent too, due to the fact the Government say is limited by the European puppet masters. We are an Island Nation that is not allowed to fish its own waters, we have the most fantastic farmland that we are paid not to farm and we have no manufacturing worth talking about.
    So what can we do about it? Leaving aside the wider debate of globalism and level headed debate being required on our membership of the EU, i would suggest the Govt. put a bit of thought into helping small business, helping those people currently on benefits to get off them and start their own business. Unfortunately, InvestNI seem to be little use to those wishing to start a small business that is only going to serve the local population. They are happy to accommodate you if you have something to export, but as for your local hairdressers, mechanics or small shop owners, I’m afraid it’s paddle your own canoe.
    Perhaps an alternative Government body that was set up to focus entirely with small business that does not or will not export, might go some way to relieving the strain on the public purse?

  2. Excellent call Ian – It’s good to see the old narrative that benefit’s money grows on trees is being challenged in NI. As a wise politician once said:

    “Let us never forget this fundamental truth: the State has no source of money other than money which people earn themselves. If the State wishes to spend more it can do so only by borrowing your savings or by taxing you more. It is no good thinking that someone else will pay – that ‘someone else’ is you. There is no such thing as public money; there is only taxpayers’ money.”

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