There have been a flurry of news stories over the last few days, which are all intertwined.
On Monday I found myself agreeing with Labour’s Chris Bryant. I am almost nauseous in writing this but as I tweeted at the time Mr Bryant spoke a lot of sense. He was pointing out how big firms like Tesco and Next deliberately set out to recruit foreign workers over UK nationals. For all their weasel words about Corporate Social Responsibility, large companies couldn’t give two hoots about ensuring local people benefit from having the likes of Tesco, Next and any other business trading in their village, town or city. Their only concern is maximising profits and if that means busing in Poles in their early twenties with no family ties or dependencies to pack containers in a distribution warehouse for a much lower cost than a person with a family to support then so be it. What do the senior managers care? They are doing very nicely back at the mansion in Hertfordshire with their cheap immigrant nanny and gardener.
But the issue of immigrants undercutting the unskilled and semi-skilled indigenous workforce is not a simple one.
Later on Monday Channel 4 broadcast a documentary entitled ‘Benefits Britain 1949‘ which took three benefits claimants from 2013 back in time to the rules of the welfare state in 1949. The documentary demonstrated once again how ridiculously generous the welfare system in Britain has become. William Beveridge, the economist who designed the welfare state and was later implemented by the newly elected Labour government in 1945, did so for one main purpose: to stop people starving. If you fell out of work, Beveridge, rightly, stated people in a civilised country should not starve to death as a result. That is all it was meant to do.
But in 2013, millions of people receive handouts and in some families, three generations have NEVER worked. They have everything paid for by the State (i.e. the taxpayer) and we are not just talking about food and heating. Flat screen TVs, Xbox, Sky TV, cigarettes, alcohol, cars. The list goes on. We learnt from Channel 4’s documentary half the population of Nottingham are on benefits. Beveridge will be spinning in his grave.
On Channel 4’s Benefits Britain 1949 there was a woman called Karen who hadn’t worked for years and certainly didn’t look like she went without food. She pulled up at the Labour and Welfare Office (as the Job Centre was called back in 1949) in a shiny new car, paid for by the taxpayer through her Mobility handout. Karen then met the welfare officers who interviewed her for eligibility for out-of-work payment. Karen was keen to point out every part of her body had an ailment and so she was judged eligible for some form of handout from the 1949 UK state. But it was nowhere near as generous as she gets today in 2013. Karen’s 1940s weekly handout was deemed to be £38.48 (adjusted for today’s prices) — compared to the £155.34 she currently receives. The car she has courtesy of her Mobility allowance was also taken away. Karen’s immediate response was to hurl expletives saying: “I’ve done my f***ing share for Britain, I’m doing no more. They can f*** off.”
Later Karen has a medical assessment using 1949 criteria for determining her fitness to work. Karen is asked to lift a bag of potatoes which she fails to even lift off the floor so the doctor places just one potato on the desk in front of her and asks Karen to pick it up. She pauses and then reluctantly decides to pick it up but immediately complains of pain in her arm. The doctor then asks her to cut out the shape of a star from a piece of paper which Karen bounds up to do, until the doctor explains it will help assess if she is capable of tailoring work. Karen suddenly has a pain in her thumb.
The problem with Karen is there are millions more like her in Britain and this is one of the reasons why millions of other workers are fed ‘chicken corn’ by their employers or not even offered work at all. There is just no competition in the indigenous workforce as millions know they are paid more in benefits than work could offer them. The labour gap is then filled with cheaper, eager young workers from other EU countries with no family ties or dependencies enabling businesses to lower wages to maximise their profits. It is then the unskilled and semi-skilled UK nationals who suffer as they are caught between a rock and a hard place: many want to work but cannot afford to as wages are lower than benefits. So immigrants who are being paid, in some cases ten times what they could get paid for the same job back home, suck up the jobs and the vicious circle keeps on turning. There is a solution of course: cut and cut again the welfare bill. Lowering it to a cap of £26,000 (which is equivalent to earning £35,000 in work), as the Coalition have now done, is insulting not only to the taxpayer but to the unskilled and semi-skilled people desperate for a job.
Back in Benefits Britain 1949, Beveridge’s original inception was proving fruitful once more. Another claimant featured was Craig who has spina bifida and is confined to a wheelchair to move around. He is, rightly, on disability allowance, but in 1949 a person with a serious condition like Craig’s would not receive his current £171.25 a week and instead he would have been paid just £7.49 (adjusted for today’s prices) a week to stop him starving. I’m glad the system has progressed to offer Craig greater monetary assistance from the State today but the 1949 system was actually very generous indeed. In the documentary, Craig was offered a training course to help him get a job and if he accepted the course he would get £100 a week. Craig is provided with a training course in a call centre selling entertainment venue tickets. The office environment, desk, computer, telephone setup is ideal for Craig with his disability and he soons excels – to the extent the boss offers him a job. Craig is overwhelmed with happiness and tells the producers this is the first time he has ever been offered a job. In 1949, companies were compelled to take on disabled workers and they would be prosecuted if they failed to comply. The documentary presented a startling statistic which dismisses the notion everything was horrible and evil in the past and today is the enlightenment era: in 2013, only 46% of disabled people are in work; in 1949, 94% were.
Yesterday, the perversity of the way modern Britain allocates money was thrown into the spotlight once again when it was announced railway season tickets will be going up by as much as 9.1% from January. Whilst we are happy for ordinary workers to be squeezed of tax until the pips squeak to pay the likes of Karen to sit on her backside all day, the same workers are then hit AGAIN with exorbitant travel costs they MUST pay to get to work to PAY their taxes. Surely, we should be helping those who work hard and keep the country afloat and not assist millions to shy away from work? I’m surprised us hard working people in this country haven’t revolted yet.
Of course the Government can get away with setting rules which allow train operators to impose inflation-busting ticket price increases as the workers who pay the country’s bills are a captive market. More and more people have to commute long distances to reach work because the cost of housing closer to their place of work is too expensive. On top of that because of mass immigration caused in part by an incredibly generous welfare system, overall competition for jobs is cut-throat, thereby keeping wages down as well.
It all comes back to immigration. No wonder EU-phile Chris Bryant has been forced to talk about it. It is the number one issue when voters are asked in surveys because the people know it is the reason why their pay is low, their son cannot get a job and the reason millions of idle work shy Karens sit at home all day feeding off the wages of those who have jobs. We know it must stop but the papers on Thursday tell us the political elite still don’t get it.
Quelle surprise, the number of Romanians and Bulgarians heading to Britain has increased by 37,000 since June last year taking the total to 141,000. How, you may ask, is this possible when the accession rules forbidding Romanians and Bulgarians from working freely across the EU is not lifted until next year? Ah, they use a well-known loophole in the rules and declare themselves self-employed so no work visa is required. Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationWatch, estimates 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians will arrive in Britain each year for the next five years. So Tesco and Next can breathe a sigh of relief there profit margins aren’t going to be squeezed by the demands of local people wanting work quite yet. The peasants are back in their box for the time being.
It is time Britain was less tolerant. We pour £50 Million a day into Brussels but receive very little back. What does our EU membership fee get us? It allows millions of EU migrants, some from very poor countries like Romania and Bulgaria, to come over to Britain and look for work. The operative word being ‘look’. The likes of Tesco and Next might give them work – for less than they would pay the indigenous
peasants population – but even if they don’t, the same migrants can board the great UK welfare gravy train and start claiming for housing allowance, income support, mobility handout, and, of course, the state pension.
I’m surprised Great Britain hasn’t sunk yet under the weight of the mass influx from East, West, South, North within the EU into our little island, which due to following an economic model which actually works (unlike the Eurozone), enacted by Margaret Thatcher, we became one of the richest countries on Earth, never mind Europe. But in typical socialist fashion, Brussels has dictated they will have our money thank you very much, and the mass redistribution of wealth from the UK to the other 27 EU states is now the order of the day.
Isn’t it time we put our own people first?