From: Mike Andrews, Upper Hopton, Mirfield.
I WOULD hesitate to take issue with such an authority as Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, especially in matters of social policy. However, in her recent article (Yorkshire Post, January 3), I think she struggled to make a clear definition of the concepts of “striver” and “shirker”.
There is, for example, some implication in the article that the “striver” becomes a “shirker” just by dint of losing his or her job. Could I offer a little elucidation?
A “skiver” is a person who, although in all respects fit and able to work, chooses not to and opts instead for a life of idleness at the expense, quite literally, of the rest of society. A “striver” on the other hand, as the very word implies, is a person who aspires to work.
Among the ranks of the “strivers” are people who for a variety of very valid reasons (age, disability, illness, lack of opportunity and so on) cannot take up employment.
Such people are emphatically not to be counted among the ranks of the “skivers” and I venture to suggest that no fair-minded person would dream of classifying them as such.
The “insecurity and weakness of the labour market” could never justify such a classification.
I wish all the “strivers” of this country a very happy New Year!
From: Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby.
PAYING benefits in vouchers (Yorkshire Post, January 4) will, I’m afraid, only increase the cost of the welfare bill, as does any scheme supposedly designed to impact on the unemployed.
What’s more, there would be a danger of a black market developing in such vouchers, as people struggling to cope with an alcohol or tobacco habit exchange them for real money, at a loss, of course.
Besides, not being trusted with actual pounds and pence will make it harder for someone to re-adjust when it comes to getting back into work.
That’s why the idea is a non-starter and a red herring when what the jobless simply want are real and lasting jobs.
From: P Dransfield, Main Street, Great Heck, near Goole.
THE Lib Dems and Labour are claiming that benefits need to be means-tested. So why did Barbara Castle and Shirley Williams stop that in the 1970s?
It would be easy to revert back to the original system but there would be a loss of income tax, so they will not do so.
Likewise, David Cameron is too busy ruling the world to get us out of Europe and deal with these matters.
From: Peter Staniforth, Washburn Drive, Glusburn, North Yorkshire.
HAVING a column to tell us the benefit of Europe for Great Britain, Mr McMillan-Scott (Yorkshire Post, December 31), as with most Europhiles, failed to provide any examples.
As for “the successful struggle for peace...”, I wonder to whom he attributes the peaceful years between the end of World War Two in 1945 and the Treaty of Rome in 1957? For those unsure of the answer, try NATO (established April 4, 1949) and the nuclear deterrent!
No doubt the Poles, like others before them, are in favour of the EU because of the more advantageous trading conditions it gives them and the fact that they, like others before them, receive many times more in funding from the EU than they donate. It really is time we stopped paying these dictators in Brussels to tell us what we can and can’t do.