Honest people trying to do their best in trying circumstances

Date: Monday 15th April 2013

Sir, I have become increasingly concerned with the demonisation of those in our community who claim benefits.

The latest pronouncement from the Chancellor linked the awful behaviour of Mick Philpott with the welfare state and with those drawing benefits. This was disgraceful and I hope that our local politicians disassociate themselves from such comments.

This comes on top of numerous attacks on benefit claimants, i.e. the poorest in our communities, including the so-called “bedroom tax”, changes to incapacity benefit and the introduction of universal credit, etc.

These come at a time when cuts in government budgets are impacting on services that support those in our community who are struggling to make ends meet.

Talk of skivers and strivers does not achieve anything other than to divide people. The talk is obviously aimed at enrolling those who are doing nicely thank you to support the welfare reform package. Those who are settled in a nice well-paid job should remember that benefits reliance is only your period of notice away.

It is abundantly clear that those politicians who support this approach have no idea whatsoever of how many people live and the challenges they face. Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that he could survive on £53 per week. Let him try! Remember our politicians and their expenses?

The vast majority of those drawing benefits are honest people who are trying to do their best under difficult circumstances. It is not their fault that they are in difficulties. How, for example, have we allowed the situation to develop where firms offering “pay day loans” at exorbitant interest rates are making millions at the expense of those who are least well off?

It might be useful to consider who is to blame for the need for cuts in spending. May I suggest that it is those engaged in the financial sector and their friends in the upper political sphere, i.e. those earning (?) very large salaries and bonuses.

The news relating to the HBOS executives, including a knight of the realm, is a case in point. Their “incompetence” has cost us billions yet there is no penalty forthcoming for any of them.

I have had my rant and no doubt it will draw comment but there are times when one must stand up for what one believes in. Yours etc,

ROBIN HOWSE

Great Salkeld.