Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A burden on whose State?

Listening to Radio 4 just now. There is a news item reporting that young immigrant workers on the whole give more than they take. That is their tax and insurance contributions are a nett profit for the Treasury; and the fact that they’re less likely to claim benefits, use the NHS less and don’t access areas such as education, social care, and pensions.

It is quite refreshing to listen to a report on immigrants that doesn’t paint them as scroungers over here to rob our benefits. Indeed it’s encouraging to hear someone actually telling it as it is; that immigrant workers in the UK are a boon.

Unfortunately the report was marred by the reporter’s need to describe those accessing areas of the welfare state such as benefits, schools, the NHS etc as being a burden on the State. He stated that though these workers were a nett gain at the moment that as they got older, had children, used the NHS more, etc they would become a burden on the State.

Then as though not wanting to put too much emphasis on immigrants being a burden he went on to say that all UK citizens became a greater burden on the State as they get older, have children, use schools, etc…

Sorry for the break in service, had to go to work. Now, where was I? Oh yes. A burden on the State. How when we are part of a social compact, that is we work, we pay our dues, Income Tax, National Insurance, VAT, etc are we a burden? We pay our way and from time to time we dip into the pot. That’s how the social compact, or contract, operates.

How dare politicians and media commentators reduce us to a bunch of scroungers demanding hand-outs when the reality is that we are the wealth creators; we are the multitude who keep the country’s coffers topped up. Therefore we are entitled to tap into, when we’re ill, unemployed, need social support, etc, the resources that the State looks after on our behalf.

The real burden on the State are those who don’t pay their taxes; employers who refuse to pay decent wages while at the same time are subsidised by the rest of us; banks that despite protecting their profits still turn to the State for hand-outs.


  1. I heard this item too. I was particularly struck by Robert Peston's confident and throwaway assertion that, of course, when people grow old they get a pension, need services, don't contribute anything and are (of course) a drain on the public purse. Chilling.

  2. Deborah, as I recall he said 'burden'. Indeed he used this word several times. If someone taking a state pension, for which they've contributed, and accessing the NHS is a burden, what does that make the royal family who tuck us up for scores of millions annually?