Moral Maze - 10/11/2010

Government welfare reform plans to be released include proposals that the unemployed will be expected to join 4 week long community work projects - if they refuse they'll have their benefit stopped for 3 months. Critics say the idea is a way of punishing the workless and is humiliating people who are already extremely vulnerable. The Archbishop of Canterbury says it could drive them in to a spiral of despair. But why should people be allowed to sit at home on benefits doing nothing? What's wrong with expecting them to give something back to society in return? Perhaps it will also combat the culture of welfare dependency and encourage the poor to take more responsibility for themselves. This new conditionality in the welfare system isn't just a matter of tinkering at the edges - it could mean a fundamental change in what the state requires of us as citizens. In the past benefits were paid on a simple calculation of need, or age. But now there's an extra level - not only do you have to be unemployed, but you also have to do good works for the community. Will this kill off the culture of entitlement? And if so why not introduce the same principles for other benefits? Perhaps pensioners should have to baby sit one evening a week to qualify for their state handout? Ask yourself not what benefit I am entitled to, but what should I do to make myself worthy of receiving it.


  • 2010-11-10 20:00:00 - 2010-11-10 20:45:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,
  • 2010-11-13 22:15:00 - 2010-11-13 23:00:00 on Radio 4 FM, Radio 4 LW,