MP says wel­fare state must ben­e­fit tax­pay­ers

The Church of England - - NEWS -

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.

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