Benefits: Do we Need ’em?


After we delved deeply into the ongoing discourses surrounding foreign nationals on our shores, join us for another round of asking the questions that really matter. Some people, including many featured in this magazine, may well be fully supportive of the social welfare system that supports the vulnerable. Yet, is anyone actually thinking about this? Is state-sanctioned financial help an economically viable function as we push on to potentially rocky roads? Quite simply: benefits, do we need ‘em?

There are reportedly just over two million people on a form of benefits. That is a lot of lazy people. That’s what they are, aren’t they? A bunch of good-for-nothing layabouts. Well, at least that’s what I believe as I read it so often on the front pages of the Daily Mail.

I like to think of the benefits system as an inverse Robin Hood. Instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, hard-earned working taxpayer money is taken and splurged relentlessly on people who are out of work. But where does this money actually go?

George Osborne claimed that some dastardly chumps received as much as £100,000 for their (lack of) troubles. It turns out, if you can believe it, that he was exaggerating. Yet, when you hear what this monetary assistance is used for, you may well have to turn off Loose Women in disbelief.

Many recipients, apparently, need this money to ‘live’ as it pays for ‘essentials’ like ‘food and water’ and ‘heating for my house in sub-freezing conditions throughout the winter, preventing the potentially deadly onset of pneumonia’. Pfft, pull the other one.

If you’re telling me that people really need money to get a fridge, you’re having a laugh. A working television and/or radio? Come off it, mate. Why can’t all these people just do what I did and move into a fully furnished student flat? It comes with the full lot and what benefits did I use? My student loan didn’t even cover my housing, so I did what most people would, could and should do; I asked my parents to relentlessly throw money at me and tah-dahh – problem solved.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Hey you politically volatile simpleton, what about the factors preventing people from getting a job such as; mental health issues, physical disabilities, lack of family support, homelessness, childhood trauma, substance addic- ‘. I’ll stop you right there. I’ve heard it all before. But whenever I have walked to Uni, along the main road of Southampton, past all the nice houses, with my rose-tinted glasses on, I have never once seen any of these ‘vulnerable’ people, who you claim to be trapped within their own circumstantial nightmare, out working. See what I mean – they’re all too lazy.

I don’t have much advice for those currently receiving welfare payments. Strangely, I am yet to be asked for my opinion. Like most members of the public, I’ve tried to give it anyway in the most (un)informed sense as possible. What I will say is, it’s not hard to be born into a middle-class family where basic day-to-day needs are not a worry, so perhaps people could try that.

Next time you hear there are ‘years of austerity to come’ as ‘wages plunge’ and ‘austerity’ continues, and people inevitably look to the state for their salvation, just ask yourself; benefits, do we need ‘em?


Final year History student, stuck in the past.

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