9. Benefits

It should be possible to live on the Old Age Pension.

We have a huge benefits bill. Even a small reduction in the people out of work or drawing Disability Benefit or its successor benefits would save us a lot of money and might reduce taxes.

Of course, we want people who need help to get it but we don’t want people who can work to get used to not doing so. Encouraging those wrongly on benefits back into work is difficult work. Companies should not be engaged to do this job of be paid per person they get back into work. This is an expensive way to tackle the problem.

Softer values of how people feel about themselves and the world of work have a big influence. If it is “cool”  to work and people see that work is normal and satisfying and rewarding personally and that it contributes to doing something they can see as honourable, then, I think, lots of people will have more courage and determination to try to get back into work.

And for people with limited ability a company that’s not struggling to stay afloat is more likely to have the leeway to risk taking on someone who may need some help and training.

Some say that some young women chose single motherhood as a lifestyle choice to obtain benefits. We need some proper way to discourage this if it really is the case. Such measures might not be popular in all quarters.