Tuesday, 10 August 2010

In Defence Of Iain Duncan Smith? *shudder*

The anti-Coalition folks (I'm slowing moving back to supporting the Coalition mainly because of the partisan attacks against it)  have got their panties in a twist again, this time over benefit cheats. Work and Pensions (the department headed by my least favourite Tory leader ever, Iain Duncan Smith) are planning to outsource finding benefit cheats to some credit firms. Let's face it, this can only be a good thing. Benefit cheats are inflating the cost of the welfare state and making the right-wing arguments against benefits more convincing. If we can root them out as thoroughly as possible, we are in a much more secure position to argue for a decent support structure for those in real need.

Sure I'm a little sceptical of the use of private enterprise to solve public sector problems, but I'm generally supportive of the concept of rooting out those who abuse our benefits system and give a bad name to those on benefits legitimately.

Is there anyone out there willing to argue that benefit cheats should be left to get on with what they are doing?

Of course, the left, generally see attacks on benefit cheats (i.e. liars) as an attack on benefits in general which is a little bit like saying arresting criminals is an attack on citizens in general. There are also those that state those who commit benefit fraud are desperate and worthy of our sympathy. Of course some of them will be! But that doesn't excuse their actions any more than those who steal to feed their drug habit.

The left have gotten grumpy today as they want more tax loopholes to be closed, quite rightly, to stop the very wealthy taking their profits from this country without paying their "fair share" in taxes. I wholeheartedly support this. But what they seem to be suggesting is we mustn't attack benefit cheats until we've attacked tax cheats.

I say: we should do both. Last time I checked (please correct me if I'm wrong) the Department of Work and Pensions does not generally deal with tax cheats. Isn't that the job of HM Revenue and Customs? You can't seriously attack the DWPs suggestions because they don't include something that another department looks after.

By all means criticise the means (i.e. using credit firms) and keep up the pressure on the Government to close the tax loopholes. But let's not criticise a policy that makes sense to us moderates who want a cost-effective benefit system that truly helps those who need it.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

3 comments:

efan78 said...

After working in a Jobcentre I can say that I wholeheartedly support this. One example I had was a couple who were living together, cuddling and kissing in the waiting area and the girl was carrying the lad's child, each claiming seperately but -as the region I worked in only had 2 investigators my report would take up to 18 months to be looked into. Anything that helps the state to help those truly in need, rather than those who simply pay the system can only be a good thing

donpaskini said...

So you can't see any problems with paying private companies to snoop on people? I thought the Lib Dems were against the database state and attacks on civil liberties?

Worth reading this:

http://www.community-links.org/linksuk/?p=1907

Jae said...

Hi @DonPaskini

Actually, if you read what I wrote, I said the following:

"Sure I'm a little sceptical of the use of private enterprise to solve public sector problems"

and

"By all means criticise the means (i.e. using credit firms)"

I have ALWAYS been suspicious of Government using private companies for anything (it's one of the reasons I disliked New Labour, with all their PFI stupidity). It's open to abuse from both sides and is often inefficient. And I am concerned about the implications in this case.

However I was confronting knee-jerk, partisan criticism of the policy in this article not normal oversight. I wholeheartedly support sensible, constructive criticism.