Government’s welfare cuts under the spotlight

WELFARE reforms were the topic of choice at a public meeting in Boston last week.

Residents gathered at Fenside Community Centre to discuss issues such as jobseekers’ allowance, child benefit and social housing – all topics under the spotlight at this week’s Conservative Party conferende.

It was part of the Conservative Policy Forum (CPF), which aims to collect views from local people that will then be taken back to Government ministers to help influence policy.

On Wednesday, the group had an empassioned debate about matters surrounding out -of-work benefits, with all present saying they believed young people should be discouraged from relying on benefits and educated to want to go out and get a job. If they are forced to rely on benefits, they should not be paid as much as those who have paid taxes for many years, the group agreed.

One man, who asked not to be named, said: “If you put them on a lot when they are young they will think ‘Oh, I get this for not working’”

Another added: “It’s down to education. People come out of school believing they are too good for jobs.”

Everyone agreed that a distinction should be made between those on long-term benefits and those who had ‘fallen on hard times’.

A resident said: “The ones who are temporarily unemployed shouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops. You’ve got to distinguish between the types of benefit that are being used.”

Housing was another big issue, with people saying that social housing should only be available for people who are unable to afford a home in the private market. When people begin to earn enough to afford their own property, they should no longer be entitled to housing benefit and social housing, they added.

The meeting was chaired by Lincolnshire county councillor Andrea Jenkyns, East Midlands CPF organiser. She said the forum was a non-political platform for everyone to raise their views, adding: “It’s an informed debate and we can take back people’s comments and get a minesterial response within eight weeks.”

The next meeting, on immigration, will take place at Fenside Community Centre at 7pm on Wednesday, November 7.