Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The scandal of the unclaimed 16 billion

The news that £16 billion-worth of benefits went unclaimed last year lifts the lid on one of the Welfare State's dirtiest little secrets.

While New Labour pursues benefit fraud relentlessly it's record on take-up is actually getting worse.

The problems lie with the complexity and inaccessibility of the system and media-generated perceptions about entitlement.

The worst-affected areas are -

Housing and Council Tax Benefits not being claimed by working families (they think only unemployed people qualify).

Tax credits missed by working people without children (they think only people with children qualify)

Pensioners missing out on Pension Credit.

These people are making do with an inadequate income. This means that they and their families are excluded that bit more from mainstream society.

Their children go without school books and miss field trips, people's buying power is reduced, people eat less healthily. All of these things have social and economic consequences for all of us.

It is truly a modern-day scandal.

No comments: