Newspapers have a tendency to over-use the word ‘scandal’, which lessens the impact when attempting to describe something that really is utterly scandalous. But a situation in which unemployed people refuse seasonal work because they justifiably fear the bureaucracy of the benefits system when the job ends is surely worthy of the word.
A benefits system that dissuades people from taking work? This isn’t a satirical nightmare, it’s real life in Britain today. And it is even more ridiculous when the seasonal work in question is picking fruit and, because of a lack of workers, that fruit is being left to rot in the fields.
The lack of pickers from countries like Bulgaria and Romania, as Brexit approaches, is part of the problem but the oft-quoted suggestion that British people are too lazy to join in the fields may turn out to be something of a lazy stereotype.
No one should end up worse off as a result of getting work. It should be good for everyone involved – the individual, the employer and the government. A ‘benefits’ system that leaves people worse off after getting a job hardly seems worthy of the word.