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The bottom line on the Welfare State

November 27th, 2010 Posted in Welfare State by

I’m pleased that aging night club owner Peter Stringfellow, 70, has attempted to hand back his “totally unnecessary” winter fuel payment. Mr Stringfellow, famous for his sartorial elegance (see here if you dare), has penned a letter to Iain Duncan Smith requesting whether he can return the last ten years of the allowance.

What this example shows is how absurd the British welfare system has become that it has enveloped so many individuals, including millionaire pensioners like Peter Stringfellow. Whilst he has quite sensibly proposed an opt-out to the system, anyone can return their unwanted allowance to the Department of Work and Pensions. Wealthy pensioners of Britain should unite and follow Stringfellow’s lead!

Similarly, if any there are any wealthy lefties out there agonising that they are not paying enough tax to the State, they can easily write a cheque to the Inland Revenue for an amount they deem appropriate. In the age of austerity, Chancellor Osborne would be extremely grateful.

Liberals were responsible for creating many welfare services with old age pensions and National Insurance schemes under the Campbell-Bannerman and Asquith administrations. But the welfare state has gone far beyond what many of the great liberals of the past envisaged. Today, Liberal Democrats should bear in mind what liberal economist Professor Alan Peacock once wrote,

The true object of the welfare state, for a Liberal, is to teach people how to do without it.”

7 Responses to “The bottom line on the Welfare State”

  1. libertarian Says:

    It is also good that Peter S helps redistribute wealth from Bankers bonuses to working class girls who need the cash!

  2. Paul Lockett Says:

    The problem is that, if you have a welfare system, you’ve got two basic options:

    1. A universal system, which gives the benefit to all, irrespective of circumstances and as a result is fairly easy to administer, but involves giving money to people like Peter Stringfellow where it might be deemed unnecessary.

    2. A means tested system, where the benefit is directed at those who are deemed to need it, which as a result, necessitates the state collecting information about people’s circumstances, increased bureaucracy, increased investigation/enforcement and in all likelihood, a poverty trap.

    Personally, I’d rather go with option 1.

  3. Tommy Judd Says:

    I’ve heard this request from many pensioners so I’m considering setting up a Just Giving website for them to donate their unwanted benefits to an area of real need. Does anyone have an idea of the perfect recipient? What should the coalition’s welfare priority be?

  4. libertarian Says:


    Well according to the latest news the Coalitions welfare Priority would appear to be Irish Banks !

  5. Yellow Bird Says:

    It should be donated to Age UK to help those in this age group who are suffering hardship, as many pensioners do. I would prefer this than giving it back to the government.

  6. Leslie K. Clark Says:

    Yellow Bird, that was an excellent suggestion that I didn’t think about at the time.

  7. Tim Jones Says: