As the distorted language of 'shirkers and strivers' becomes ever more embedded in governing culture, it is definitely worth having a look at the new book Poverty and Insecurity: Life in low-pay, no-pay Britain (Studies in Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion), by Tracy Shildrick, Robert MacDonald, Colin Scott Webster and Kayleigh Garthwaite. It was published by Policy Press on 19 December 2012.
Overweight or unhealthy people who fail to attend exercise sessions should have their benefits cut, the Local Government Information Unit proposed. Such a measure, included in a report produced with Westminster Council, would be unjust and do more harm than good.
Ruth Lister, who is a peer, emeritus professor of social policy at Loughborough University and chair of the Compass management committee, has written a fine, short piece for the Guardian on benefits and uprating.
The following is the full text of the letter to the Observer newspaper (9 December 2012), on the impact of the government's autumn budget statement, from charities, churches, trade unions and NGOs. Ekklesia fully endorses the sentiment and message of this letter.
It has long been apparent that demeaning and demonising benefit recipients to provide a rationale for deep welfare cuts is part of the government's strategy. Given the distribution curve of human behaviours, it is inevitable that some who receive benefits will be feckless, lazy and scrounging, just as these defects will also be found in the more prosperous strata of society. Now, Lord Freud – the Welfare Reform Minister – has found a new slur to cast on poor people.
In seeking once again to blame the poor for poverty, UK work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has implied that several children of members of the royal family may be poorer than many living on the breadline with parents earning the minimum wage.