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Has The Welfare State Created A Dependency Culture

1779 words - 7 pages

This essay about has the welfare state created a welfare dependency culture is going to look at single parents who are trying to go back to work, job seekers allowance, one of new labours Christians, Frank Field, Bill Jordan and Marsland. Firstly In order to answer this question the essay will look at what is meant by the words welfare dependency. Welfare dependency is a situation where people on welfare, such as those receiving unemployment benefit, treat this as a 'way of life' rather than attempt to secure a paid job.According to Peter Golding and Sue Middleton most newspapers reporting of welfare claimants portrays them as 'scroungers'. According to their research there are numerous stories in the press about how those living on social security are enjoying comfortable, even extravagant life styles at the taxpayers expense.Marsland argues that low income results from the generosity of the welfare state rather than from personal inadequacy. He is particularly critical of 'universal welfare provision': the provision of welfare for all members of society regardless of whether they are on low or high incomes. Examples of universal provision in Britain include education, health care, and child benefits. Marsland believes that such benefits have created a' culture of dependency'. He says ' the expectation that society, the state, the government,' they' will look after our problems tricks us into abdicating from self-reliance and social responsibility'. He argues that welfare 'hand-outs' create incentives for staying in unemployment, they ridicule competition and discourage self-improvement through education. Further more, by increasing public expenditure they take money away from investment in industry and thus hinder the production of wealth.Marsland does not believe that all benefits should be withdrawn, but he does argue that they should be restricted to those in genuine need and who are unable to help themselves. Benefits should be targeted on groups such as the sick and the disabled.Bill Jordan argues that Marsland is wrong to attribute the culture of dependency to universal welfare provisions. If such a culture exists, it is created by 'targeted', means-tested benefits received by the very poor. He says 'selective systems trap people in poverty and passivity, and exclude them from the opportunities and incentives enjoyed by their fellow-citizens'. If, for example, those in work have to pay for education and health care, and the unemployed do not, then, 'many unskilled and partially disabled people will not be able to afford to work'. (M. Haralambos 1991)Labour mp Frank Field might argue that, whatever the causes of the expansion of welfare spending, it is unrealistic to expect taxpayers to foot the bill. He claims that the welfare budget (approximately billion a year) costs the average taxpayer a day out of their wage packet. But Field's figures are bogus. The welfare state is usually portrayed as a sort of Robin Hood, redistributing wealth...

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