Pre-Paid Cards: Tories to Tell us How to Spend our Benefits.
This may have been overlooked,
The government is to introduce pre-paid benefit cards to stop claimants spending their money on alcohol, drugs or gambling .
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it would help those “on the margins break the cycle of poverty”.
The cards could only be used for some items in some stores, and would not be valid in betting shops or off licences.
The scheme will be initially piloted on a voluntary basis and will be targeted on those with addiction problems.
The BBC’s assistant political editor Norman Smith said government sources said the move was aimed at helping claimants with drug or alcohol issues and protecting their families.
An estimated one in 15 working-age benefit claimants in England suffer from addiction to drugs, such as crack-cocaine and heroin, while an estimated one in 25 working-age benefit claimants is suffering from alcohol dependency.
Clearly some people will make a lot of money out of these cards, so we can expect pressure to grow for them to be used for all claimants.
When the state makes judgments about necessities and enforces it on the vulnerable, we create a “peasant” and “benevolent benefactor” dichotomy. This is neither progressive nor morally sound. The welfare state is a safety net to which we all contribute so that if circumstance dictates, we may use it: something those least likely to ever need it conveniently forget. When we start incorporating punitive addendums, we lose sight of the wider issue. The poor are instantly stigmatised through a caricature of recklessness and fecklessness: the undeserving lumpenproletariat in need of correction through fiscal imprisonment.
So much for the party of “freedom of choice”!