Church Action on Poverty supporter Canon John Gaunt Hunter got in touch with this interesting response to our new report, Restoring Faith in the Safety Net.
I well remember the enormous sense of relief we all had after the war when Labour introduced the Welfare State. Then the uncomfortable sore Christians experienced pre-war – of ex-service men with their Great War medals standing in the gutters of our shopping centre streets begging, or the homelessness experienced by poverty stricken families selling their furniture on the street to find the money to pay the rent. Or children running around in the streets in bare feet in freezing weather, ice on the ground.
Miraculously all this vanished overnight in our new remarkable socialist society of the 1950s. But now poverty is back. With bankers getting multi-million pound bonuses, Branson living in the West-Indies to avoid paying tax, American companies making millions in the UK yet registered in Ireland or Luxembourg to avoid UK tax.
It is no good begging the government to find the money out of thin air to improve the benefit system. Only if we concentrate on educating people to take a pride in paying their taxes, can the government find the money and act to repair the holes.
Otherwise, like Greece, we push the government into further debt, or we force them to print money and prices shoot up and we all lose our savings.
If we want to repair the holes we must all cough up and pay higher taxes for the good of the community.
Do you have recollections of the introduction of the welfare state and how it changed our society? Share them with us in the comments below!