MP says welfare state must benefit taxpayers
SPEAKING AT the launch of a new collection of essays from the think thank Theos on ‘The Future of Welfare,’ Frank Field MP argued that the welfare state has to serve the ‘selfinterest’ of taxpayers if it is to retain their support. He made the case for linking welfare payments to contributions rather than means testing.
Nick Spencer, editor of the collection of essays, unveiled statistics that showed a widespread support for Field’s views. In a poll commissioned by Theos, two thirds said that people should only receive welfare payments if they had previously contributed to the fund.
Findings of the Theos poll show the views of ordinary churchgoers to be very different from the opinions on welfare voiced by 27 Church of England bishops in a letter to the Daily Mirror.
The poll showed that 90 per cent of people believed the welfare state was facing severe problems and more than half of the Christians surveyed put the blame on people falsely claiming benefits or on ‘benefit tourists’ from overseas.
According to Spencer the public has shifted from a needs-based system of welfare to one where benefits are tied to contributions. He argued that the only exception to this is the NHS but warned that the case for the NHS will have to be made repeatedly. However, he cautioned that it was now too late to restore the pre-Thatcher consensus on welfare.