Benefit System

Jan Leeming

Shoreham 2007

Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 2nd April 2013


Much as I approve of Ian Duncan Smith’s efforts to reform our broken Welfare System and get people off benefit and back into gainful employment, I can only think that he must have been misquoted as saying that he could live on £53 per week. I eat hardly any meat but a do eat well and buy the best including a great amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, and my weekly food bill for just me is best part of £80.

The Welfare State was set up to help those genuinely in need and a superb innovation it was. We now have so much abuse of the system that many live a very good life on benefit without ever lifting a finger. Apart from the ‘something for nothing’ attitude, I genuinely believe that welfare can be a bad thing leading to ‘poverty of aspiration and dependency on a system’. ( Mind you I think this is what Labour likes – to have people dependent because they will be their ongoing voters)

And believe you and me, the Benefit system can become a total ‘gravy train’.
When circumstances forced me to sell my house and move into a flat 10 years ago, friends suggested that there was help with loft insulation if one were over the age of 60. I’ve never had a penny benefit in my life but thought I’d see if I were eligible.

On phoning the local District Council and being put through to the correct department and ascertaining that I was over 60, I was asked one question – ‘Are you on benefit? My answer being in the negative, I was told there was no help with the cost.  In fact the very words of the woman were "In that case, we can't help you"  No wonder it is called a Benefits Gravy Train.

Decades ago, in Bristol, a relation by marriage was on the housing list and turned up regularly to see if ‘they’d won the lottery’ and might be allocated a flat. Every visit was the same. A certain group of people ran the department and they favoured their own even to the point of allocating accommodation to people who had been in the country for five minutes – ah, but they had several children so they took precedence.

I'm not sure how I feel over the so called 'Bedroom tax' - I can see what they are trying to do but, as always happens, there are going to be some people unfairly treated.  It isn't totally dissimilar to the 'Poll Tax' business which just about brought down the Tory Government.  We are taxed every which way and it would seem fair that, if you live in an area and you earn then if there has to be a local tax, every earning adult should pay that tax which covers services such as ambulance, fire etc.  The absolute furore it caused was phenomenal - Why?  There were council households where families had lived for years - the children had grown up and were earning but the Rates were the same for a household of 'earners' as they were for the single widow or widower .   So in one home, there was only one person calling on the local services, but in others you'd have many who might have to use those self same services.   That was not  just but the Government lost.  I still think a local tax is fairer than a Rating system.

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