Writing in The Times (£) recently, John Bird, founder and editor in chief of The Big Issue, expressed frustration that the current welfare debate had been reduced to whether Iain Duncan Smith could live on £53 per week, he wrote:
“For more than two decades—ever since I set up The Big Issue so that the homeless could through their own efforts earn a legal income—I have been arguing that spending more on benefits makes neither social or financial sense. Yet as society grew wealthier and healthier, the number of people we parked on benefits grew too, men and women who have never gone out to work in their lives.
What the poverty industry has done is corral them into a class outside of mainstream society. Struggling by on benefits, their children are marginalised at school, creating the next generation of poor dependents. These children are as bright as the offspring of the middle-class defenders of the poor, but few make it into university, whether ancient, red-brick or white tiled."