Tuesday, June 26, 2012
British PM to axe housing benefits for feckless under 25s as he declares war on welfare culture
Radical new welfare cuts targeting feckless couples who have children and expect to live on state handouts will be proposed by David Cameron tomorrow.
His bold reforms could also lead to 380,000 people under 25 being stripped of housing benefits and forced to join the growing number of young adults who still live with their parents.
In a keynote speech likely to inflame tensions with his deputy Nick Clegg, the Prime Minister will call for a debate on the welfare state, focusing on reforms to ‘working-age benefits’.
Among the ideas being considered by Mr Cameron are:
* Scrapping most of the £1.8 billion in housing benefits paid to 380,000 under-25s, worth an average £90 a week, forcing them to support themselves or live with their parents.
* Stopping the £70-a-week dole money for the unemployed who refuse to try hard to find work or produce a CV.
* Forcing a hardcore of workshy claimants to do community work after two years on the dole – or lose all their benefits.
Well-placed sources say Ministers are also taking a fresh look at plans to limit child benefit to a couple’s first three children, although Mr Cameron is not expected to address this issue directly tomorrow.
Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, Mr Cameron said: ‘We are sending out strange signals on working, housing and families.’
He argued that some young people lived with their parents, worked hard, planned ahead and got nothing from the State, while others left home, made little effort to seek work and got a home paid for by the benefits system.
‘A couple will say, “We are engaged, we are both living with our parents, we are trying to save before we get married and have children and be good parents. But how does it make us feel, Mr Cameron, when we see someone who goes ahead, has the child, gets the council home, gets the help that isn’t available to us?”’
‘One is trapped in a welfare system that discourages them from working, the other is doing the right thing and getting no help.’
Asked if he would take action against large families who were paid large sums in benefits, he replied:
‘This is a difficult area but it is right to pose questions about it. At the moment the system encourages people not to work and have children, but we should help people to work AND have children.’
His plan to axe housing benefit for the under-25s will have exemptions for special cases, such as domestic violence, but he said: ‘We are spending nearly £2 billion on housing benefit for under-25s – a fortune. We need a bigger debate about welfare and what we expect of people. The system currently sends the signal you are better off not working, or working less.’
He also favours new curbs on the Jobseeker’s Allowance, demanding the unemployed do more to find work. He said: ‘We aren’t even asking them, “Have you got a CV ready to go?” ’ A small minority of hardcore workshy, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000, could be forced to take part in community work if they fail or refuse to find work or training after two years.
The Prime Minister wants to show he is committed to radical policies, but his speech could exacerbate strains with Coalition partner Mr Clegg, whose Lib Dems oppose drastic welfare cuts.
It follows the row over plans to revive O-levels and will fuel rumours the Coalition could end long before the 2015 Election. ‘As leader of a political party as well as running a Coalition it’s right sometimes to make a more broad-ranging speech,’ said Mr Cameron.
A Government official said: ‘Decent folk are fed up with the increasing abuse of the welfare system. Responsible people who work damned hard, often on low incomes, to support themselves, are sick and tired of seeing others do nothing and live off the state.
‘Labour threw ever greater sums of money at the problem and made it worse. If we want to encourage responsibility we have be bold enough to tackle these issues. We suspect some of those who refuse point-blank to seek work are working on the black market and claiming fraudulently.’
But a Labour source said: ‘It is easy for rich Tories with big houses to have grown-up children at home while they find their feet. It’s different if you live in a tiny council flat and your daughter is a single mum.’ Ministers said curbs on housing benefit for the under-25s, had helped slash the welfare bill in Germany and Holland
Unfit, scruffy, high-handed and corrupt: Britain's worst police need fixing - and if it takes a railwayman to get them back on track, so be it
A once exemplary police force lies in ruins after 13 years of constant Leftist "reforms". Getting it back on track will not be easy
Tom Windsor is the man who will be undertaking a radical shake-up ofpolicing, if the Home Secretary gets her way. On Tuesday Mr Winsor will be grilled by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on his application for the £200,000-a-year post of Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
The former rail regulator is a brave choice – as he would be the first civilian in the post. Previous incumbents have almost always been former chief constables.
But where they may have succumbed to the temptation to go easy on their former colleagues, Mr Winsor might be less reticent.
Of course, he does not know policing like a former chief officer with more than 30 years’ policing experience, so, Tom, here are a few suggestions .
1. Look Like Business
The police are far more likely to gain the respect of the public – law-abiding and criminal alike – if they look like they mean business.
A scruffy officer who climbs out of a Smart car with no cap or helmet to distinguish them from a traffic warden is hardly likely to strike fear into the hearts of hooligans or command authority when dealing with the public.
Image is important and yet police leaders have let standards slip, preferring not to take on those who look a disgrace in their uniform.
And they are always looking for the cheap option when it comes to police vehicles. When I was a constable and we roared up in our Rover 3500 with creases in our trousers, clean boots and caps in place, people took notice. It made us feel confident and it gave the public confidence in us.
2. Be Fit For Purpose
Recruits are tested to see if they are fit enough to become constables – then are never fitness tested again. This is a nonsense when police careers can last up to 40 years.
Too many officers are more likely to catch a cold than catch a criminal because they are unfit.
The Police Federation has always argued that if there are to be compulsory fitness tests, officers should be able to keep fit in work time. But companies do not allow their workers time off to keep fit. Maybe some senior officers are worried they might fail the test.
3. Serve The Law-Abiding
Many of the problems confronting the police are caused by bad attitudes, whether it’s high-handed traffic officers lording it over motorists or response-team officers dealing with their tenth burglary of the day who show no compassion for the victims.
The minority who are unprofessional undo all the good work done by the majority of officers. Too much concentration on league tables has resulted in not enough effort being put into providing a high-quality service.
4. Iron Out Corruption
In the mid-Seventies there was a surge in recruitment and standards slipped. Ten years later, as some of these officers began investigating serious crime, we saw cases where officers stole drugs, invented evidence and were paid by criminals to sabotage cases. The Metropolitan Police was forced to set-up an anti-corruption unit. We are approaching ten years since the last surge in recruitment and the police need to prevent a repetition.
Taking action would be seen as an admission of a problem that some senior officers would rather deny.
5. Put The Public First
The Chief Inspector of Constabulary chairs the Senior Appointments Panel that vets applicants for the most senior ranks in the police.
On his advice, the Home Secretary appoints the two most senior police officers, the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
Currently police chiefs who put their communities first and Home Office directives second are likely to come off worse. Mr Winsor has a golden opportunity to ensure those who put the public first get promoted.
6. Prioritise Serious Crime
Police success to a great extent is measured by the overall number of crimes solved as a proportion of the total committed in their area.
Minor crimes that are easier to solve, such as shoplifting, count just as much under the existing system as solving a complex rape case.
This gives the police an incentive to concentrate on those ones that are easy to solve rather than the ones that are important to victims. Crimes need to be ‘weighted’ so that solving a complex and serious crime counts more than a minor case.
The overall detection rate will go down, which politicians won’t like, but it will focus minds on the crimes that really matter to the public.
7. Care About Victims
In some cases, particularly rape, the victim refuses to relive the ordeal by giving evidence in court. Many victims simply want to be believed and taken seriously by the police and given appropriate care.
Unless the police get a conviction, however, they don’t score a point on the performance league table and so they tend to write off cases where the victim is reluctant to go to court. Overall satisfaction with the police needs to be taken as seriously as the conviction rates.
8. Tackle Drug Abuse
A drugs offence is recorded only if someone is arrested. The more action the police take, the worse the problem looks, something neither politicians nor police chiefs want. But problem drug users, who need money to fund their addiction, commit a lot of burglary and car crime. The proportion of criminals testing positive for drugs, complaints of ‘crack houses’, and drug-dealing must all be recorded, as measures of tackling problem drug use.
9. Work When Needed
The shift system does not put most officers on duty when the demand for police services is at its highest. Community officers often work Tuesday mornings when most people are at work and response teams are often on duty on Sunday mornings when most troublemakers are at home nursing hangovers. The times of day when crimes occur need to be analysed and officer numbers should be matched to the demand.
10. Put Feet On The Street
Increasing numbers of officers are being used in specialist and plain-clothes squads, leaving fewer officers to respond to emergencies and to carry out community policing. Police effectiveness relies on the support and co-operation of the public and if the police do not respond when we call them or we never see them on the street, we are going to stop calling them.
It’s time to get back to basics and put feet on the street.
Denial of religious support for Christians in the U.S. military
Although the U.S. Military fight and die to uphold freedom, high-level military chaplains report they are increasingly being denied freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. There is also alarm about the negative effects on troop morale over the undoing of the 237-years’ practice of providing traditional religious support for U.S. soldiers.
“We were promised that we would see no change - very little change,” says Col. Ron Crews, alluding to a two-star officer’s assurance that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal would not impede the ministry of military chaplains. That promise, he says, has not been kept.
Col. Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, was speaking at a panel along with military chaplains and religious freedom activists during the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington D.C on May 24.
The panelists agreed that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other policies have made it difficult, if not a punishable offense, for military chaplains to read passages of Leviticus, pray aloud in the name of God at a soldier’s funeral, or preside over traditional services.
Col. Crews recounted an interchange in 2010 between Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a military chaplain. While Adm. Mullen was briefing the troops on what the repeal might look like, the chaplain asked if those with “biblical views that homosexuality is a sin [would] still be protected to express those views?”
Adm. Mullen reportedly responded, “Chaplain, if you can’t get in line with this policy, resign your commission.”
Another chaplain’s promotion was unexpectedly rescinded, said the colonel. The reason: forwarding an email sent by a fellow chaplain that was critical of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. Due to this action he was told he would need to be “more closely supervised.”
Yet another chaplain wished for his chapel to be considered “sacred space” and not used to officiate same-sex marriages. He was told that despite his wishes, his chapel would be “sexual neutral territory.”
After Chaplain (Major General) Douglas Carver, the U.S. Army’s Chief Chaplain, called for a day of prayer and fasting “in keeping with your religious traditions,” the Military Religious Foundation (MRF) “wanted him fired,” said Col. Jacob Goldstein, a panelist and senior U.S. Army Jewish chaplain. He added that despite the MRF’s claims that this was offensive to Jewish people, “this fasting follows in our tradition.”
Chaplains are not the only ones feeling pressure. Veteran’s Affairs officials told veteran honor guards that mentioning God in prayer was not acceptable. It took a Temporary Restraining Order from U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes and four months of litigation for the name of God to again be permissible.
Four months was not soon enough to prevent heartbreak to the widows of the fallen. Lisa Ward, the widow of a war veteran, made a promise to her husband - in the event of his death, he would receive the full burial ritual. But arriving to bury her husband and fulfill her promise, she was told the full burial ritual was against federal government regulations. The ritual mentioned God.
“I can’t redo my husband’s funeral,” she said with tears in her eyes.
One federal official, speaking on behalf of the Houston National Cemetery, said that prayers must be “inclusive.” Another asked a veteran to submit his public prayers in writing for approval. Finally, a judge ruled, “In this country, we don’t tell our pastors how to pray.”
But these legal victories do little to reassure believers. Kelly Shackelford, a panelist at the National Religious Freedom Conference and president and CEO of Liberty Institute, said, “The speed at which we are falling is much quicker than I have ever seen,” referring to the amount of religious freedom complaints that his office receives.
Shackelford’s office is the largest non-profit law firm in America, which deals solely with defending religious liberty. Still, there are too many cases for his office to handle. Over a period of ten years, he says he has experienced the most change in the past year and a half.
More religious freedom complaints are piling up. But Shackelford said that his office can’t provide any help unless people are willing to take a stand and work through a litigation process. He ended his talk declaring, “We need to stand in a Christ-like manner, but whether we stand or not is not an option.”
U.S. Military criticized for political correctness
The U.S. military is guilty of political correctness toward domestic Islamic terror, according to a congressional report made public Wednesday that concludes al Qaeda is using U.S.-based Muslim radicals to plan mass casualty attacks.
“Homegrown radicalization is now the vanguard of al Qaeda’s strategy to continue attacking the United States and its allies,” said the report on domestic extremism by the House Homeland Security Committee. The report was based on several hearings held by Committee Chairman Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican.
The report said evidence of the threat comes from recordings made public in Pakistan by the core al Qaeda terrorist group, as well from an English-language magazine produced in Yemen by two American jihadists. Additional evidence came from an American suicide bomber in Somalia who urged Muslims to wage “jihad in America.”
The report said Islamist extremism is “the No. 1 terrorist threat to this nation.”
Of particular concern, according to the report, is the threat posed by radical Muslims to U.S. military communities. The terror threat to military communities is “severe” and growing. It includes the use of “insiders,” such as Maj. Nidal Hasan, the man accused of carrying out the 2009 Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 people and wounded 29 others.
The report faulted the U.S. military for “political correctness” toward Islam, which the report called a “potentially devastating development” for the security of troops and their families.
The Obama administration “chose political correctness over accurately labeling and identifying certain terrorist attacks appropriately, thereby denying Purple Heart medals to killed and wounded troops in domestic terror attacks,” the report said.
The report stated that the June 2009 shooting attack by a U.S. Muslim convert, Carlos Bledsoe, on a U.S. Army recruiting office in Arkansas highlighted homegrown terrorists’ targeting of military facilities.
“Bledsoe specifically targeted the U.S. military to avenge what he believed was its mistreatment of Muslims,” the report said. “He also had traveled to Yemen and was radicalized to al Qaeda’s violent Islamist extremist ideology.”
Despite the evidence of terrorist ties, Bledsoe was tried in a civilian state court rather than under federal terrorism charges.
“In another glaring instance of al Qaeda-inspired homegrown terrorism, the government also neglected to indict Maj. Nidal Hasan on any terrorism-related charges, considering the case to be an example of ‘workplace violence’ despite his reported email communications with the operational leader [of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula], the since-slain American terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki,” the report said.
Based on the hearings on the domestic Islamist terror threat, the committee concluded that radicalization of American Muslims remains “a real and serious homeland security threat.” The report also found that Muslims in the United States are not cooperating enough with law enforcement in countering the threat.
Significantly, the report stated that the U.S. government needs to “confront the Islamist ideology driving radicalization.”
The report also warned that Islamist terrorists are being created in U.S. prisons as the result of a policy of permitting radical Muslim clerics to lecture in prisons or to distribute jihadist materials.
The report also said that in Somalia, more than 40 American Muslims were radicalized and recruited by the Al-Shabaab group, an al Qaeda affiliate, and may pose a direct threat to U.S. national security.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.