Syed Kamall is a Conservative MEP for London. Follow Syed on Twitter.
Despite the best efforts of the Coalition, Britain is still a “broken society”. We have a hard core of about a million adults who simply do not know the meaning of work. We still have hundreds of thousands of people trapped on welfare dependency, some looking for a job but others comfortable and unambitious on their benefits, plus sixteen hours a week of part time earnings. Up and down the country, we still have gangs of youths hanging around on the streets with nothing to do, many from broken families whose parents were too preoccupied with their own survival to be in a position to spend energy on disciplining their children.
The welfare state of today is a far cry from what its inventor Beveridge envisaged: a system which would support people in need at times when they most needed it and help return them to self sufficiency. Today, the welfare state has become the master rather than the servant of the poor. Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms, which are the first serious attempt to get rid of poverty traps, cannot come soon enough. But the overhaul of the benefit system will not be a panacea.