Archive for October 27th, 2008

Incapacity benefit

I haven’t read the proposals for the changes to Incapacity Benefit so I have no idea what the specifics are but it has always been my feeling that too many people are written off by the system when they can and want to work but are classed as incapacitated. And there are others (admit it, we all know at least one person) who fiddle the system. I know two cases of “bad backs” that don’t seem to get in the way of DIY projects such as building extensions and farming. Those that genuinely cannot work should get a hell of a lot more than they currently do (and a much simpler system; I tried to find out the different rates of entitlement and had to give up as I couldn’t work it out!) and those that can work should be given help, support and training to get them into the best possible job.

Of course, in an ideal world, benefits (with the exception of incapacity benefit) would meet the basic daily costs we all incur but the national minimum wage should be set at a level that far exceeds the basic living costs so that we don’t penalise people who are on benefits, we instead reward people who work. That way, we can all put poverty behind us and can afford life’s little luxuries such as heating or food.

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How is China coping with our economic difficulties?

We all know how the West is coping (or not) with the global economic downturn, but there’s a really interesting article on the BBC website about the impact on China who are, or at least always have been, the world’s number one manufacturer of our “luxury” items, such as toys. But as we spend less on said luxuries, the Chinese workers are out of a job.

One quote caught my eye:

… at the top of the newly created wealth list, China’s 101 billionaires are hurting too.

They’ve seen their income fall by more than a fifth in the last year.

Yang Huiyan, a 26 year old property heiress, who was last year’s number one on the China Hurun Rich List has slipped to number three in the newly published version – her wealth dropping by £5bn to just below £3bn.

As always, my reaction is completely sympathetic. Only £3bn a year? Awwww, diddums.