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David's Views: Benefits

In a civilised society I believe it is right and proper that those who are better off help those who are in a less fortunate situation.

In government policy terms this aspiration takes many forms and one of the most obvious is the benefit system. In recent years the main emphasis has been on stopping benefit fraud and targeting benefit at specific groups.

The problem is that the system has become so complex that the very people who should get help don't.

In my view the only answer is to simplify the system.

  • one form only - don't have different forms asking similar question about financial and personal circumstances.
  • increase the value of basic universal benefits, like pensions - the basic level of a pension should not need topping up to provide a minimum income.
  • simplify benefit regulations - the current rules are like a net; the problem is a net has holes in it that both the fraudulent and the deserving can slip through. Simplified rules could provide a wall to keep out the fraudulent and protect the deserving.

The bottom line:

  • we must make sure to help those in a less fortunate situation.

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