31 May 2014

Categorising the poor

Posted by Frances Coppola on May 27th 2014

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time. It's the history of what we might call a “British disease” - the desire to judge people's motives rather than addressing their needs.

For centuries, successive British social systems have recognised that there are people who cannot work,whether because they are too young, too old, too ill or too infirm. These people need to be provided for by others – in the first instance families, but where family support networks break down, support must be provided by the wider community.

And for centuries, successive British social systems have also recognised the existence of people who are perfectly capable of working but are not doing so. Most of these people are unemployed due to economic circumstances. But a small minority are not working because they don't want to. And an even smaller minority pretend to be ill, infirm or unfortunate in order to claim benefits, often while working on the sly.


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