or “How tight-fisted is our government with benefits?”
After its victory in the United Kingdom general election, 1945 the Labour Party pledged to eradicate the Giant Evils of society*, and undertook policy measures to provide for the people of the United Kingdom “from the cradle to the grave.”
*The Beveridge Report of 1942 had identified five “Giant Evils” in society: squalor, ignorance, want, idleness and disease. Beveridge recommended a national, compulsory, flat rate insurance scheme which would combine health care, unemployment and retirement benefits.
Around the same time other Western European Countries saw similar measures being taken out, and soon national insurance schemes became de rigueur across the continent.
Spending on these schemes has gradually risen over time but in many European countries the actual amount given in benefits is a hotly debated subject – generally the conservative right-wing has discouraged a welfare system, arguing that such systems are open for abuse and that they make people less independent more reliant on the state. The more socialist and liberal opinions feel that welfare systems are necessary for maintaining basic human rights and that benefits should, at the very least, provide subsistence payments to the most needy in society.
It doesn’t take much analysing to see how meagre the benefits system is in our country – considering that we are one of the richest countries in Europe. It seems that continental Europe are willing to give their citizens what amounts to a fair standard of living, whereas in the UK, we see repeated attacks on the poorest in society – taking back billions from the budget in the name of ‘austerity’.
On the continent – when workers are unfortunate to lose their jobs, or to become sick; the state are willing to continue to pay them the majority of their wage, until they are able to find work again.
Thanks to the Coalition Government, Britain now has some of the lowest benefits in Europe