Who benefits from Welfare Benefits?
Once again we see the Tories promising to cut welfare benefits. According to the Tory narrative- accepted by Labour and broadcast media- benefits go to scroungers and wasters at the cost of hardworking families. The rest of us know of course that hardworking families are having to claim benefits to make up for low pay and high rents… I have commented on this before…here and here and elsewhere….
It is obvious to me- and many others- that we, the tax payers, through the benefit system, are subsidising low wages and high rents; in other words we are subsidising employers and landlords,not individuals.
Through in work benefits we are are subsidising Tesco and the like at the same rate as we we are subsidising the small business, struggling to keep afloat.
Through Housing Benefit, we are subsidising the good and the bad private landlords, at the same rate.
If we change the narrative and accept that benefits are a subsidy to business we can then ask a different set of questions. Why not introduce the living wage and find a way of subsidising the small business, struggling to establish itself, without subsidising the huge businesses making a profit at our expense? Why not bring in rent control, at least for landlords who want to benefit from Housing benefit? Increasing the amount of social housing so that Housing benefit could pay to help maintain the housing stock is another possibility.
By introducing a living wage and through better regulated rented housing, we could better target the money we spend. But we need to start by changing the narrative and accept that much of the welfare spend is on subsidising business.
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