When there's a public storm over the antics of one particular dysfunctional group of benefits-dependent adults and children, what is the responsible government reaction?
Obviously, it's increasingly authoritarian bureaucracy that will make life that little bit more miserable for other, entirely unconnected and mainly blameless, benefits-dependent adults and children, while having no effect whatsoever on the problem of babies-for-benefits* welfare dependency:
Under new laws likely to be proposed next year, missing a single "work-focussed interview" would cost a claimant £12 a week. The second missed appointment would mean a £24 cut in the weekly payment.I have no idea what starving the feckless is supposed to achieve, even if that's what they are. If the fecklets aren't being cared for properly now, with the only money left over from their parents' lottery scratch cards, cigarettes and porn site subscriptions barely stretching to a box of microwave chips a day, who the hell is going to suffer first when the cash is cut?
A third "strike" would see claimants lose all benefits payments, with Job Centre staff paying essential bills like food and heating directly on the claimant's behalf.
The proposal doesn't even make sense. If you were on "two strikes" and losing £24 per week, you'd have to strike out again as fast as possible if you wanted to eat.
There is a far simpler way: a flat rate benefit - call it a Citizens' Basic Income if you want - that can be swapped for a tax threshold somewhere around £10k to £12k. (You've persuaded me, Mark).
* I don't think this exists quite as has been suggested. Babies are complicated incentives, in a welfare state. Nonetheless, incentives have accrued to them in a way that is in part problematic.