Web links for 17th February 2012
The “Inequalities” blog is becoming a must-read for anyone interested in social security policy. This post by Robert de Vries looks at the perception of people on benefits.
He argues that public attitudes to social security have become harsher, not because of changing views about what would be fair levels of benefits, but because of changing views about the sort of person who gets benefits.
The negative characteristics attributed to people on benefits “have deeply invaded our mental landscapes, and we can no more escape them than we can those we have built up about people of other ethnicities, genders or sexual orientations.”
de Vries concludes with a brilliant apercu that could link this change to the rising number of attacks on disabled people:
“Being disabled and incapable of work means you receive incapacity benefits, but receiving these benefits puts you in the mental category of ‘people on benefits’; people on benefits are bad people, therefore you must not really be disabled.”