In this disturbing and brave exposé, a Pakistan-born baroness reveals how some of her countrymen have as many children as possible by several wives so as to milk our welfare system...
Baroness Shreela Flather, Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, was the first Asian woman member of the House of Lords
Behind the creation of the modern welfare state lay a noble ideal. The post-war generation of politicians and civil servants were motivated by the desire to protect the vulnerable, the sick and those in genuine poverty.
Tragically, over recent decades, the system has become corrupted. It might have once been a safety net for those in real difficulties but, today, parts of the benefits structure have become a lucrative racket for claimants who lack any sense of social responsibility.
Through its generosity, which now costs taxpayers more than £200 billion a year, Britain’s social security system incentivises idleness and fecklessness.
And one of the most worrying aspects of this — and which is something that has been a taboo subject for far too long, because of sensitivities about the issue of race — is the way the system is exploited by some migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
As I said in Parliament this week, there is now a growing wealth of evidence that the generosity of the welfare state encourages some Muslims from these two regions — along with plenty of white families — to produce ever larger families in order to claim extra payments and publicly-subsidised housing. And it’s something the system seems to allow too easily.
For example, a Pakistani man contracts a marriage in his native country, and then brings his wife to England to start a family. Because they have been married only under Islamic law, she isn’t legally registered by British authorities as his wife. Even so, they are able to claim child benefit for any children they have.
But the state handouts do not end there, for under Islamic Sharia law, polygamy is permissible. So a man can return to Pakistan, take another bride and then, in a repetition of the process, bring her to England where they also have children together — obtaining yet more money from the state.
Because such Islamic multiple-marriages are not recognised in Britain, the women are regarded by the welfare system as single mothers — and are therefore entitled to the full range of lone-parent payments.
Eastern values fashion and cultures meet western on the high streets of the multicultural society of Birmingham
As a result, several ‘families’, fathered by the same Pakistani man, can all claim benefits as they are provided for by the welfare state, which treats them as if they are not related.
Figures are hard to obtain, but it’s thought there may be around 1,000 polygamous families living in the UK, costing taxpayers millions of pounds every year. A friend of mine, who investigated the issue for a BBC Panorama programme, told me of one street in a Yorkshire town where all the residents are Pakistani women with children living on social security. There is not one man living in the street.
Where are the men? Perhaps with another family somewhere else.
Who knows. It is certainly difficult to discuss, because this phenomenon of serial marriage and exploitation of the benefits system is taboo — with few people in Britain seeming to want to face the disturbing truth.
Indeed, any mention of this issue is seen in politically-correct quarters as a much greater crime than the wanton abuse of the welfare system and of taxpayers’ money.
There may be 1,000 polygamous families living in the UK
My proof of this? Following my speech in the House of Lords this week, I have been subjected to a torrent of criticism, with some people accusing me of prejudice and others even condemning me for racism.
Such accusations are absurd. I was born in the city of Lahore, which is now part of Pakistan, and I have devoted much of my public life to fighting discrimination.
Yet in our politically-correct society, nothing smothers open debate more than the accusation of racism.
We cannot continue like this. The misuse of welfare among some Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others has to be challenged, for the practice seriously undermines the social contract upon which the British welfare system is based.
When modern social security was first introduced after the war, the driving force behind its creation was the liberal-minded civil servant Sir William Beveridge, who said that the system was not meant to provide ‘something for nothing’.
Benefits were to be given in return for contributions to society — through taxes, national insurance payments and work. But, over the years, the contributory principle has been destroyed. Its obliteration is particularly stark in this case, for many of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi claimants will often have paid nothing in British tax or national insurance.
What’s more, the continuation of this unfairness is a recipe for friction between communities.
The misuse of welfare among some Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others has to be challenged, for the practice seriously undermines the social contract upon which the British welfare system is based
Nor should we tolerate the acceptance of Sharia law in areas of this country (as some militants minorities have been calling for) since an extreme interpretation of the Islamic code treats women as second-class citizens, stripping them of their rights on practically everything from property to divorce, which they have under British law.
Indeed, there is some evidence that the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for running the welfare system, has turned a blind eye to the incidence of polygamy in Muslim communities.
In 2007, the Ministry of Justice admitted it had no exact figure on the number of polygamous couples living in Britain, and my fellow peer Baroness Warsi more recently warned that the Government shies away from discussing the issue because of ‘cultural sensitivity’.
Two years ago, ministers proposed a change to the law to tackle the issue — only to back down after being warned this could contravene human rights legislation.
Furthermore, we are also allowing the culture of benefit dependency to have a very unhappy effect on our children.
All studies show that they are best brought up in a household with a loving mother and father.
The accusation of racism kills open debate
But when they are cynically treated as nothing more than a means to welfare payouts — with their two parents living apart — they are denied that support.
Not only are the children’s polygamous fathers often absent, but their mothers often struggle to cope with ever larger broods, unable to give their full attention to their individual sons and daughters.
Furthermore, the culture of benefit dependency bred by this practice tends to trap children in poverty, for, through no fault of their own, these youngsters often grow up in jobless households without any masculine role models and are very likely to repeat this miserable pattern.
It is time to break this cycle — and stop providing incentives to dependency.
For a woman’s first two children, there should be the full raft of benefits, but, for the third child, the amount should be cut by a quarter and, for the fourth child, by half.
After that, there should be no more benefits for any extra children.
The same should apply to accommodation. It is wrong that families are encouraged to believe that they can keep moving to ever larger, taxpayer-funded homes simply by expanding the number of their children.
After all, it’s not as if, in our advanced, industrialised society, there is a need for vast families, with children put to work to bring in vital wages.
This might be the case in parts of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, where there is no social service provision, no NHS, no pensions or care homes for elderly, and where children are needed to look after their elders.
Before critics of what I propose start throwing around abuse, I must stress that this is not some kind of British version of the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown on family size, where parents are allowed to have just one child.
I don’t care how many children any family has, but, beyond four, parents should be expected to meet their own costs. This is a matter of fairness between those who give and those who take.
The current free-for-all, as we can now see from the country’s gargantuan fiscal deficit, is simply unsustainable.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037998/Polygamy-welfare-benefits-insidious-silence.html#ixzz1Y8U3oY4C
Friday, 16 September 2011
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I disagree, there should be no benefits for ANY child after the second.
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