Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Most of us are spongers now!

That's the implication of a report from the free market think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, which says that 53% of us are receiving more in benefits than we pay in taxes.

It is certainly a startling figure, quoted in the Times today, and it is derived from genuine numbers from the Office for National Statistics.

One wonders how the country in which this happens can survive. It's like the animal which eats itself.

Let's take a closer look, though.

The 53% takes into account not just the normal benefits you would expect (like housing and council tax support and child benefit) but also state pension and the perceived value of education and treatment from the NHS.

So if you send your children to school and go to the doctor or a hospital, or draw your pension, you are officially a leach on the state.

I have always thought it was weird that the State Retirement Pension was classed as a benefit. After all, you only get it in full if you have made sufficient National Insurance contributions.

You get it because you've earned it.

The CPS admits that stripping out the growing numbers of pensioners, the proportion receiving more in benefit (still including education, health etc) falls to 39%.

But this figure, they say, has risen from 29% in 2001. In other words, sponging is getting worse anyway.

What else has changed since 2001, I wonder?

Well, there are 1 million more people unemployed, for starters. I imagine most of them are claiming one sort of benefit or another and earning very little.


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