GP Taylor: A fair benefits system does not justify social housing for scroungers

Do people need to be more realistic over their housing expectations?Do people need to be more realistic over their housing expectations?
Do people need to be more realistic over their housing expectations?
GROWING up in a council house on a large estate in Scarborough has always made me appreciate having a roof over my head.

It wasn’t the biggest of houses, but it was still home for my family. I did envy my friends who lived in the bigger houses in the town. They had more room and nicer things and at an early age I decided that one day, I too would have a house like that.

Back in the day, it seemed that if you wanted a big house then you had to work for it and the state wasn’t handing out a mansion on demand. When my dad was made redundant from his job, he went to work as a road sweeper rather than go on the dole. Life was hard, but we got through.

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Growing up under those conditions, I now despise people who are benefit scroungers. Not a particularly PC thing to say, but we have to admit that hard working people are paying taxes to keep others in booze and fags. I am not saying that everyone on the dole is a scrounger, far from it.

However, the newspapers are always filled with stories about people on benefits unwilling to work and yet earning more than most of us do by exploiting the benefits system.

Some people think it is their right to be sponsored by the State to stay at home and breed. Then they demand a bigger house to contain their expanding brood.

I was astounded when I read that a migrant family with eight children from France felt they had a right to be housed properly. The five-bedroom house they were offered wasn’t big enough and they needed a dining room.

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Well, my heart bleeds. A dining room? Really? If they are not satisfied with the five-bedroomed house they were offered, apparently the largest house the council had, they should consider moving back to France and see if they get on any better there.

They don’t work, get £40.000 a year in benefits and want a dining room? They have also engaged solicitors to fight Luton Council – again at our expense.

If that is the case, I have suddenly realised that my Yorkshire work ethic has been a waste of my time.

Most people I know work hard, get taxed to the hilt and don’t complain. They live in houses they can afford and don’t continue to have kids until the house is overflowing.

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Britain has become the benefits soft touch of Europe. Unemployment benefit in Poland is half that of the UK.

We cannot deny that people are attracted to come and live here because we look after people who can’t look after themselves. We also appear to give them whatever house they want as if it is a right.

No one can no longer assume that they have a right to housing and that the “nanny state” should hold their hand through life. Scroungers have to be called out for what they are. Again, in Poland if you have been unemployed for a long period of time, your money stops. Ask for housing benefit and they will laugh in your face. Imagine the outrage from the liberal elite if we started doing that. It would certainly be a vote winner where I live.

I don’t think anyone minds the State helping people out when they are genuinely in need. No one should ever face poverty.

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Benefits should be there at times of crisis, but they should never be seen as an income for life. Neither should people feel they have a divine right to be given five-bedroomed houses just because they don’t have a sensible attitude to having a size of family that suits their income.

I am not against large families, but they should not be used as a way of gaining more money from the state.

If you choose to have lots of children, then you should be prepared to work and pay for them.

One such family are the Radfords of Morecambe. They have 19 children and never claimed a penny in benefits. Mr and Mrs Radford work very hard to keep their family together.

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It is time for housing and child benefit payments to be overhauled.

It is ludicrous that a family with eight children would get nearly £500 from the state for nothing just for their children.

One easy solution would be for benefits to be capped at three children per family. Either that or have it drastically reduced for every subsequent child.

Children should not be seen as a cash cow for getting money and housing for nothing. Children should be brought into this world for the right reasons.

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None of us have the right to a house. We either have to work hard to buy or rent one. If we are unemployed, then we cannot dictate to the state what kind of place we want to live in. Benefits should be for those in real need and not for those who can’t be bothered to work. Social housing is a benefit and not a right.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster and can be followed @GPTaylorauthor.