I am a taxpayer and council tax payer living in SE1.
Here's my view, which is essentially the same as every other person I know who lives or works in SE1 ( all of whom are in work, or who are supported by a partner in work).
I support the coalition government's reforms of welfare - but these reforms barely scratch the suface of the welfare monster originally intended as a safety net for working people, not a way of living. Work already done to lift the tax threshold eventually to £10k is progress.
The London living wage should also be introduced in tandem with these reforms to make business share some of the burden from the taxpayer. HMRC also needs to toughen up on some cosy relationships with big business to make them pay their tax.
The British State has created an entire class of people who are utterly dependent upon the state - the incentives to compel people to work and pay their way in society are not strong enough. Southwark Council's own data shows us that the majority of residents in social housing are out of work. As long as their rent is paid for by the Council via housing benefit, this situation will not change. It's called human nature.
Southwark also have one of the UK's worst and shameful records of Council Tax collection - I would suggest that as a Council you focus your efforts on improving this dire record. Recently, the BBC reported that 4 Southwark Councillors had received summons for late payment of Southwark Council Tax.
Welfare also means that money is diverted from productive, wealth-creating, growth-creating activities such as building housing, schools and transport improvements. Such projects will help people back into work - a virtuous circle. Housing benefit also ends up in the pockets of private landlords, when the state should be spening this money on housing - a crazy situation.
The way in which Council Housing is allocated also distorts the socio-economic make up of this borough into two extremes - the very rich who can afford to live in luxury riverside developments granted consent by Southwark Council with zero on-site affordable housing - contrasting with Council housing which is only allocated to the poorest.There is no space for anyone in the middle.
Do not underestimate the widespread grievance of working taxpayers who resent paying for the benefits of those who live off the state at our expense. We are in the majority. If this is a democratic process, you need to listen to us as well.
This Borough desperately needs people who are in work and who contribute to our society through local and national taxation. The Balance in Southwark is distorted too far over to the welfare-dependent.
Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that a number of our local politicians see fit to maintain this welfare-state status quo as this is a reliable reserve of welfare-dependent voters who are being manipulated into seeing any form of welfare reform as an attack on them.
Anyone living in Southwark of working age has easy access to the UK's largest and most thriving jobs market. The unemployed have access to free training.
Meanwhile, hard-working people commute for hours to jobs in London. People who cannot afford to live in Southwark.
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