By Simon Black-Further to the current government's attempts at reconstruction of the benefits system, I am writing with a suggestion of my own, which in my opinion, and the opinions of many others would make a considerable difference to the amount squandered on people who are hell bent on milking the system.
For years now, it is self-evident that people can be better off by not working. Certain families are in to their third generation of unemployment, and frankly nobody can blame them.
The prospect of living rent-free, having a load of kids and not having to lift a finger for it is somewhat tempting, not forgetting the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who come to the UK for a better life, paid for by all of us.
Let's not forget, the system should be there for those who need it. Those who cannot work due to genuine incapacity, caring for someone or those who need it due to the loss of their jobs.
But what about those who are capable of work, who choose not to? Well, this is my suggestion.
Potentially, you have a prepaid workforce of 2 million people. People who could do jobs that local government pay millions to contractors to do.
Why not use these people to save the government money? Why not?
Say Mr. Smith or Mr. Habib go to sign on. Tell them that for the next week they will be litter-picking in parks, or cleaning graffiti off walls to earn their benefits.
They then have a choice; do it, or have their benefits stopped or reduced. This is what should happen.
Or put them into the NHS, a ready-made infrastructure which is reeling because of the cutbacks, they can clean the dirty wards, or maybe they are qualified in a field that may help the NHS, like accountancy, management, catering admin or otherwise.
I'm sure there's a job for them, after all, hospitals are at their worst due to under staffing.
Maybe they can train in nursing, care or otherwise into the bargain.
What harm can it do?
Here's a few of the good things it could do.
1. Mr. Smith may gain some training, a sense of dignity and self-worth and set an example to his siblings in that you have to go to work to provide for your family. That can't be a bad thing..
2. Mr. Habib may think "sod this, I'd better look for a job, I'm not doing that for a pittance".
3. Mr. Smith or Mr. Habib may gain the necessary training to get a job.
4. All the money saved can go back into government funds, to invest in children's futures, better policing and a safer, more prosperous future for all.
5. Immigrants will not see this country as such an easy ride, if they can't help our country, we can't help them. Simple and fair for all.
6. Taxpayers and voters will see all this as a fairer system, not a farcical misuse and abuse of theirs and generations before hard earned investment in their country being milked.
Yes, the unemployed will be outraged by the shock and horror of having to work to live, but far less outraged than the general public are at the ease in which they can live better than most working class families without even leaving the house.
The current system is unfair, abused and in need of radical change. So stand up and listen.
One can argue that the contractors currently doing these jobs may be redundant.
Not so, as a portion of them could still be used to train these people, and after all, they may be undercut in the next round of tenders, and they were in existence before local government employed them. So, why has nobody got the guts to give this a go?
I'm no professor, but even I can see the benefits.
There is job creation within the system too, this prepaid workforce will need supervision and training as well, but the cost of this is far less than the benefits bill, I just think people are blind to this.
It grieves me to see these families, six kids in tow, all using the latest phones, walking a £1000+ dog, and having a 50" plasma screen TV living rent free whilst working families struggle to pay their rent, council tax etc and feed their children.
Surely giving the unemployed the status of state employed is better.
For them, and all of us.
I'm not talking about putting them in high visibility coats and shaming them, far from it. I'm talking about fairness, setting an example to the younger generation and above all, giving Mr. Smith and Mr. Habib some dignity, and hope for the future.
So, I ask you for a reason why this cannot be done, without the usual side-stepping or avoidance of the facts.
State employment has got to be better than unemployment. It can only save money and instil hope.
Millions will agree with me, who knows, it may even win you an election someday.