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Thursday, May 7, 2015








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Promoted by Independent candidate Bruce Gauld, 22 Amory Road, Dulverton,Somerset, TA22 9DY


The Welfare State

“From each according to their means, to each according to their needs,” to misquote Karl Marx. That was the underlying principle of the Welfare State when it was envisioned in the Beveridge Report in 1942. Considering when it was published it was remarkably optimistic. It was assumed that everybody who wanted a job would have one and that everybody who worked would contribute. Therefore, when somebody fell on hard times the State would provide a lifeline, until they had got back on their feet. That principle and the post-war optimism coupled with the yearning for a more equal society meant that the Welfare State had the overwhelming support of the people. However, over the years, and in particular over the last 20-odd years that support has diminished as the nature of society has changed.

Far from being a temporary lifeline “benefits” have for many become a way of life. No longer do people try to improve their lot, they have realised that with a good knowledge of the system they can in many instances, not all, enjoy a good standard of living without having to make much of an effort.

This would not be a problem if money grew on trees, and the majority of people were still willing to work to support themselves and those less fortunate. However, the number of people willing to do this is diminishing as they look around and the people who supposedly are less fortunate do not appear that way to them. This feeling is compounded when they need some help and discover it is not available.

With the leak of some of the ideas the Conservatives are considering (if they should form the next government) to changes in benefits this situation will only get worse. The one area I want to consider here is Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance. The reason I no longer work is that I gave up my job so that I could care for my mother over the last three years and three months of her life. I received Carers Allowance and she received Attendance Allowance. This meant she could stay in her home surrounded by the people and things she loved. She did not have to go into a home, which meant there was a place available for somebody less fortunate. With the suggestion that these benefits would only be available in the future to somebody in receipt of Universal Credit means that somebody who has done the right thing would once again be denied help when needed. Support for the Welfare State would be further diminished. This is just one example.


The NHS is also suffering similar problems. Funding is increasing but demands are outpacing the increase in financial support. This is due to a cornucopia of reasons. Ill-thought-out management changes, too much money being spent on management rather than patients, demand for different treatments, but most importantly the huge increase in people entitled to treatment.

When you have an increase of population over the last 10 to 15 years in the region of five million (which was not envisioned or planned for) this will have a hugely detrimental effect on the provision of services. It is simply unsustainable.

This can only be solved by a much larger percentage of the population paying Income Tax and National Insurance through the provision of employment which pays enough to live on. Hand-in-hand with that would go a reduction in in-work benefits which distort the provision of full-time jobs.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

PFI was introduced by the Conservatives, reached its zenith while Gordon Brown was Chancellor, and has reduced but continued under the present government.

It is a way of financing capital projects but without the cost appearing in the Government's accounts. In other words “cooking the books”. They could build infrastructure, mainly hospitals and schools, without appearing to increase the Deficit.

There are, however, a number of problems. 1: I read a report a number of years ago, so the situation is probably even worse now, that said infrastructure valued at £10 Billion  had been provided but it would end up costing the taxpayer £50 Billion; 2: Even worse is the fact that it is being repaid out of the money given to the schools and hospitals to provide education and treatment now, which are now suffering due to a lack of funds; 3:Some of the maintenance contracts tied into the PFI contracts are onerous and nonsensical in the extreme. Are some of the Civil Servants who agree these deals idiots? Or, is the major problem the bureaucratic nature of the system used to agree the terms?

In conclusion I would ban PFI deals. If a new school or hospital etc was required the cost would be paid directly and appear in Government spending. If it could not be afforded then it would not be built.


Education is the area that I know very little about. I have had nothing to do with it, in any capacity, for roughly 40 years. Education should be a simple process of imparting knowledge to children so that when they become adults they are prepared for whatever is thrown at them. Governments of all descriptions over the last 50 years (at least) have continually meddled and altered what is expected of educational establishments. What is required now is a period of certainty so that teachers and pupils know what is required of them.

Tuition Fees

It would, in a perfect world, be ideal to go back to the system that was in place when I was at college. You obtained a grant from your local Education Authority which covered your maintenance costs while studying. Of course if you decided to really enjoy yourself you would either have to get a part-time job during term time, or a full-time job during the holidays. To go back to that system it would mean halving the number of students going on to university. Coupled with that Government would have to provide the conditions so that there would be work available for all the people who no longer went on to university and also the provision of part-time Further Education so that people who wanted to study while working could do so. In other words, going back to the system that used to exist. It was not as egalitarian but it did seem to work for most people.

I do realise that my last two points are mutually exclusive. Which neatly sums up the mess that the education system has become!

One final point on tuition fees. The last report I read on the efficacy of the present system concluded that it was highly likely that approximately £40 billion of students loans would not be repaid. However, the way the system is arranged that shortfall will not appear as part of the Government debt! Much like PFI.

Multicultural Britain

The majority of Britons are perfectly happy with a diverse cultural mix, with one proviso. Every culture is welcome in this country as long as they obey the law. That law is one based on Western Christian/Secular ideas and way of life. The only law that should have any legal standing is English Law (Scottish Law in Scotland) and also any International Law the country has signed up to.

No other law should have any legal standing in this country. The problems have arisen because some in the immigrant community believe that their law should override  any other laws. This is not acceptable. Male and female are equal. A woman is not a possession or good. Same sex relationships are legal in this country. No one can be allowed to set up their own systems of courts. I would not go to another country and decide that I could ignore the laws in force there, however much I thought they were archaic and cruel.

If an immigrant is unhappy with the way of life in Britain they should perhaps move to another country more in tune with their ideas. It is not for Britain and the British People to change to accommodate them.

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