Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Attwood should welcome new welfare reforms

Alex Attwood (Comment, September 27) should be commended for his energetic determination on matters of welfare, but he would do well to listen more and lecture less.

The logic of his position is one which is not just financially unsound but restrictive of fundamental individual freedoms.

Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform proposals are focused entirely on what Mr Attwood would define as 'vulnerable people'.

Instead of labelling people as 'incapacitated' or 'disabled', Iain Duncan Smith wants to help them into paid employment.

He wants to stop penalising those who wish to work and to stop the intergenerational cycle of dependency.

The reality is that most people in marginalised communities want to work, want to contribute.

The state's role is not to pigeon-hole people into communities of 'vulnerable people'; it is to assist those who are marginalised or disadvantaged become self- reliant.

The implication apparent in what so many of our ministers say is that 'vulnerable people' cannot have ambitions of their own, should not be encouraged to work, and should never be allowed to choose their own futures.

This may at first sight look like good politics but it makes for extremely bad government.

IAN PARSLEY (CON.)

North Down Borough Council

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