The current government has made the welfare system increasingly conditional on the grounds that “permissive” welfare policies have led to welfare “dependency.” Strict behavioural requirements and punishments in the form of sanctions are an integral part of the conservative ideological pseudo-moralisation of welfare, and their “reforms” aimed to make claiming benefits less attractive than taking a low paid, insecure, exploitative job.
Welfare has been redefined: it is pre-occupied with assumptions about and modification of the behaviour and character of recipients rather than with the alleviation of poverty and ensuring economic and social well-being.
The stigmatisation of people needing benefits is designed purposefully to displace public sympathy for the poor, and to generate moral outrage, which is then used to further justify the steady dismantling of the welfare state.
But the problems of austerity and the economy were not caused by people claiming welfare, or by any other powerless, scapegoated, marginalised…
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