Entitled

22 02 2013

Entitlement

I am increasingly incensed by the modern concept of Entitlement.

I am speaking not of our basic human rights but the strange belief held by far too many people that the world somehow ‘owes’ them. I was brought up to believe that anything of value in life came at a cost: not just a question of finance but also hard work and effort. A decent standard of living generally requires a good education and a decent job to fund the house, car and holidays, balanced with equal care and attention devoted to the relationships in our lives.

I am not naïve enough to believe that everyone really has equal access to the same opportunities. While the choices we make play a huge part in determining success, there are also circumstances wildly outside of our control, so there should be services available to protect those in need.

However there will always be those who use such systems in a way that was never the original intent and exploit them. The benefits system is an obvious example but it does not stand alone.

I saw an interview with a mum of 11 children. She has not worked in 19 years and is firmly entrenched in the benefits system. The controversy surrounding this woman is the council’s ‘duty’ to provide her with suitable accommodation for her large family. She is currently occupying two homes that have been joined together but this is apparently not suitable because of the difficulty in managing the household when half the children live in a different building and the fact that there is only one exit which poses a fire hazard. The council are to build a brand new 6 bedroom eco friendly house worth £400,000.

She claims to be extremely grateful to council and says she would love to come off benefits and go out to work so she can support her own family. She wants to own a shop and run her own business. However during the interview she explained that as there is help available to help families why shouldn’t she take it after all she is entitled to this support.

I have no desire to vilify this woman or her lifestyle choices but for anyone to be able to say she is Entitled to this support – with no sense of irony and a straight face – needs help of an entirely different nature. The system does not exist to absolve people from making responsible decisions but to provide support to those in genuine need. I would love to either quit my job and become a lady of leisure or run my own business so I do not have to deal with the stresses of answering to someone else. I want a family but have waited as I feel I have not been able to afford children up to this point in my life. I pay my own bills and provide for myself and have never been on benefits because I DON’T NEED TO BE!

There are people much more deserving than I am who need support from the state; people who are unable to work, have suffered extreme ill health, been made redundant, have limited opportunities due to a disability, are full time carers, or those who have unexpectedly lost their partner. I do not begrudge them the help they receive but it frustrates me that so many people who are able to work see this support as a right.

Benefits should be a temporary life line for most people while they are looking for strategies to become self sufficient. Obviously there are people who will need support on a more permanent basis for justifiable reasons but living on benefits should not be something anyone aspires to.

It is time for individuals to be accountable and to take responsibility and stop the culture of expecting everyone else to foot the bill for our own mistakes and poor choices.

By all means – spend what you can afford, borrow what you can pay back, do not expect others to foot the bill for your lifestyle choices and do not claim that you are entitled to something when you are not. And on a side note, if you are in genuine need of financial support – take it! After all there are plenty of people less worthy who contribute nothing to society but make sure they get every penny they feel they are entitled to.

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