This is an issue that will divide a generation.
On the one hand we have the socialists, who are under the misapprehension that cutting benefits is a bad thing and a short-term idea.
On the other we have the tories, who see cutting benefits as something that has to be done, not for deficit reduction purposes, but because it is the right thing to do.
Whichever side you sit on you view the debate in a different way.
Yes there are going to be people disproportionately affected, such as the elderly and those genuinely unable to work, and this needs to be address in any cuts.
However, a substantial proportion of benefit claimants will only be affected if they let themselves be. Too many people claim benefits when they don't need to (even if they make up only a small proportion of claimants).
IH ran a story in the 16/07 edition about a man crammed into a small flat and desiring a bigger house for his family. What shocked me was the reasons why he was on benefits. He suffers from chronic back pain, an affliction that is hard to prove yet one that affects large numbers of people.
The sad fact is, too many people use this ailment as an excuse not to work. I can't say whether or not he was genuine, I don't know him, but many, many people work long days with the same condition and just get by. Maybe they're the mugs, but they're the ones that feel taking a few painkillers and getting on with their life is right.
The second surprise was the statement about the borough in which he lived, and not wanting to leave it. I think this is the crux of the problem as far as benefits claimants go, this sense of entitlement, and it is this that needs to be ended.
If I live in one borough, and want a bigger house, then I'm likely to have to move to another borough to get it, which may mean my children moving schools (although it shouldn't), and may mean me having to travel further to get to work. But that is the choice I, and many others, make in the private sector, the choice of stopping in an inadequate home or moving to another borough to buy a bigger home at a price I can afford.
Why should this be any different for benefits claimants? Why should they get preferntial treatment, to require to stop in a borough, regardless of what the increase in price of their accommodation is.
In the private sector we have caps, it's called our income. If we are truly to return benefits claimants to society, then they too must learn to live within a budget, just as we do.
At the moment the state hands out free money and demands very little back in return for it, the tories are proposing a change to this, a change that requires you provide something in return if you want benefits.
I applaud the changes, but think Cameron et al. need to consider the effect on the truly vunerable members of society before they finalise plans. Benefits are meant to be a safety net in times of hardship, for some those times will never end, and it is they who must be protected, along with the elderly.