Austerity drive could lead to welfare state collapse
Under the Government's austerity programme, welfare benefits have begun to be hit across the board, especially since the introduction of the recently-announced changes.
The cuts which are being arbitrarily applied will become progressively deeper as time goes by.
The heydays of Britain's economic prosperity are now receding into history and it is unlikely that we shall regain the bygone peaks of our strength in the foreseeable future. After periods of intense activity and prosperity, nations enter into a phase of fatigue, and we in Britain are now experiencing this phenomenon, leading to our decline. Britain's much-lauded welfare state, which came into place after the end of the Second World War, is now just over 67 years old and history tells us that having become weak already, it could enter a state of collapse in a few years and then unravel altogether.
What we have to remind ourselves is that our highly successful welfare state is not something that is unique in the history of the world, although the perception is that we were the pioneers in introducing such a programme.
In the 10th century in Baghdad under Muslim rule, there was a highly developed and very successful welfare state in place which provided free education at all levels, free medical treatment including hospitalisation, care for the elderly, and many other benefits that are the attributes of a modern welfare state.
This model after a very successful period came to an end because the state was no longer able to fund it.
Our situation in Britain is now somewhat similar with the added burden of the massive abuse of the system through the laxity of our rules and the unscrupulous behaviour of thousands of claimants.
In addition, the Government is now set on a path of increasing privatisation of all services which will inevitably result in a poorer and less efficient levels of service.
All the service sectors are now going through a metamorphosis which will invariably change the face of Britain.
Already there is significant food poverty in the country which is being catered for by more than 200 food banks run by charity organisations.
Coincidentally, in this era of food poverty, the contribution of the Sikh community is proving very helpful. Many Sikh temples run daily open kitchens and distribute free food to all, irrespective of their caste, creed or colour.
The public outcry against the dwindling benefits and services face the juggernaut of the coalition Government which is determined to push through the changes at any cost.
We are indeed in a sorry state of affairs and no alternative seems to be on the horizon.
Manzoor Moghal, Leicester