Grumpy Accountant

It’s so easy to target the weak

Dave and the boys have just told us that they plan to reduce incapacity benefit by £25 for those found to be fit for work but unwilling to do so.     Doubtless, Gordon and the gang will match this policy some time soon, even though they’ve already started the process.

We’re told that it will cost £600 million to get “shirkers” back to work.    Simple arithmetic, £600 million divided by £25 a head, says that 2.4 million “shirkers” will need to get back to work just to break even, much less yield cost savings.

Now consider this; there are 2.6 million people claiming incapacity benefit.    Simple arithmetic says that 2.4 million “shirkers” represent 92% of total claimants.    That’s what we’re asked to believe.    Quite by chance, I bumped into an acquaintance, a medical consultant, last night.    He told me that he had been actively involved in the government’s Welfare to Work programmes, advising on how claimants could be helped back to work.    I asked him if he knew the official estimate of “shirkers” claiming incapacity benefit.    The answer?   4%! That’s just over 100,000 or, to put it another way, a potential saving of £2.5 million to offset against the cost of the programme.

If you can hold your nose long enough to ignore for a moment the callousness of cutting sick and depressed people’s weekly benefits by £25 to make savings, while at the same time doing absolutely nothing to rein in the robber mentality of so many of the wealthiest, or even if you don’t find the proposal as stinky as I do, why would you want to support such a duff financial proposal that adds to debt rather than reduces it?

And where are 2.4 million new jobs coming from?

And, while I understand completely the desirability of stopping cheats from claiming benefits we can’t afford to pay, are there not more immediately deserving targets such as the bankers and financial “engineers” and their legions of highly paid advisers who, having completely buggered our finances, national and personal, are said to be too important to be chastised in any meaningful way?

Where, oh where, are the politicians/leaders prepared to take aim at real targets instead of largely defenceless people, disabled by long term physical and/or mental health issues?

PS   If you’re lucky enough not to suffer from a long term disability, be grateful.      As a friend said to me yesterday “there are, absolutely, none so blind, none so ignorant of what is going on around them, as those who have neither experience of disability, nor compassion for those weaker than themselves, nor any thought that it could happen to them”.

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07/10/2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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