So we at the Baby Creative Policy Unit decided see if we could make the Welfare State work. And guess what, we managed it.
First things first, let’s look at some figures. There are roughly 61m people in the UK. A fifth of these are children, which leaves 48.8m adults. Social security benefits currently come in at £147.317bn. Without wanting to be too slapdash, we’re going to add £16bn or so for tax credits. So we’ve got £163.5bn to apportion to those near 50m Britons.
Right that’s all the numbers out of the way, many apologies. How best to apportion that loot? Well, if we divide that into weeks, then we get a budget of £3.144bn a week.
The current system slices this up and hands it out in a quite inequitable fashion. People who manage to tick more than one box on the benefit form are picking up more than their fair share. However, those who put in more are getting no recompense for their efforts.
What we are proposing here is a rethink of the entire welfare state, in a way that will bring everyone inside the system and thus give them responsibility for what is done with their tax pounds.
So, here’s what we’ll do. To achieve maximum justice, and a sense of fair play, every British adult will receive £65 a week whether they’re working or not. No more multiple applications for housing benefit, income support, incapacity benefit, and the like. The bureaucracy will shrink at a stroke, saving billions straight off the bat. However, there will still be a role for the thousands of civil servants to even out anomalies thrown up by the new system, so we’re not consigning anyone to the (newly non-existent) dole queue.
We’re also looking at billions saved on policing benefit fraud and an end to campaigns urging people to dob their neighbours in. There’d be no need for medical check-ups of the work-shy on incapacity benefit, or insanely complicated 20-page application forms that you have to fill to get tax credits. You register at the next census and the money comes to you by cheque, every Monday. (We’re essentially keeping the Post Office solvent with the cheque option, solving another big problem). Moreover, the estimated £30bn of unclaimed welfare money wasted each year could go into other departments, funding education, health provision and countless other schemes for those in poorer areas.
The biggest losers from this system would be those who are content to loaf on benefits, who can currently gain upwards of £300 a week. The genuine flaneurs can now prove their commitment by managing their lives of leisure on the utter breadline.
As ever, your thanks, praise, abuse and what have you are all gladly received.