'FAITH BASED WELFARE'? - NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC SERVICES
The arguments AGAINST 'faith base welfare' fall into 6 overlapping categories:-
Employment rights and responsibilities, staff recruitment training and regulation.
Reliability and national standards
In attacking Council Welfare Services in favour of 'faith based welfare' one home counties Tory Councillor derided them as 'nationalised care'. Elsewhere on the political spectrum, politicians of all colours who have ingrained religious beliefs support church demands to take over welfare services regardless of the many arguments against any such move.
Public services, despite the constant carping by those who are lucky enough not to need them, help to ensure the availability of inexpensive rented homes, and decent living conditions for those who do. They provide equipment and facilities for the disabled, schools and homes for the seriously damaged, as well as helping people to live full and active lives in spite of handicap and illness and poverty. They employ many dedicated workers who provide good standards of care despite very poor pay. To insinuate that they should be done for free is an insult to those who organise and put into practice these services.
We should be not only be supporting them but working to improve them, not treat those who are so poorly paid for doing some of the jobs that this Conservative Councillor's well off middle class constituents would not do for a fortune.
He and Tories like him would do anything to relieve those in well paid jobs and who do not need care and support, of the responsibility for paying their share for public services. These people successfully retard progress that keeps people in need in any area in which they are a majority. Given half a chance some of these politicians would happily take us back to the days of the Poor Law, 'the panel' and the workhouse. The church has always favoured charity over provision of care 'as a right' because it keeps them in thrall to them and their bands of missionaries . Other politicians who must realise the fallacy of the apparent relief of not having to pay for welfare services through taxation, fall into the alluring trap of believing in magical solutions and find ways to rationalise policies that in their rational moments they must know do not stand up to scrutiny.
It has taken the best part of a century for decent secular public services to be built up by the hard work of political activists, trade unionists, pressure groups, and individuals who may be members of churches or militant atheists.
We need services run by staff who have been recruited, vetted and trained by services properly organised through the local council, regulated and paid for their services through local and national taxation. More importantly they should be under democratic control.
(His notions would also have implications for the Public services since the churches are now allowed to discriminate against potential employees who do not comply with their doctrinal beliefs, whether or not this is relevant to the job!)
Paying public money to churches to run public services is not the money saving solution that some politicians would like, since unless they are relying of massive cost cutting at the expense of trained staff, they will still have to spend money on ensuring that the money is well spent. And that in the long run could prove more expensive as the run down of public services under the last Tory government has shown. Also the costs of poverty and deprivation will be met in the future in the many social problems that they cause.
Of course the Tories want free public services, but why should people in need of such services have to be beholden to a bunch of well meaning amateurs? Spreading its 'message' through charity has been a favourite tactic of the religions in keeping its power and influence over the community and they are desperate to get back to that as security and self confidence leads people away from reliance superstition and church.
Only with the rise of secularism in the last century, were universal education, health and welfare services taken out of the hands of the church and provided as of right, and to an acceptable standard in a civilised society. We should be glad that these services are provided through local councils, that they are staffed by trained people in a service that is part of our local democracy.
We still need to work for them to become even better funded than it is, so that people in need of welfare, especially children and the old and disabled should have a decent life and not live in fear of poverty grateful for the handouts of church missionaries.
There should be no place for 'missionary'' take over of public services at public expense, for their own advantage, public services should be the pride of a civilised democratic society. Available to all who need them and paid for by all according to ability to pay through local and national taxation.
People complain now about 'post code lottery', how much worse would be the patchy provision be if left to the vagaries of services broken up and given to congregations of religiously inspired 'missionaries', out to spread their beliefs, with no answerabilty to the community through the local council as at present.
I wonder how many of this councillor's constituents who have the good fortune to be well educated, well housed and well paid protect their jobs through 'professional organisations', and trade unions, would be outraged if anyone suggested that they should be done for free or by amateurs?
Anyone who turns up to do a good job, whether it is skilled or unskilled deserves to be valued and paid a reasonable wage.
There are many ways in which religious people with time on their hands can contribute to the caring services, if they are trained reliable and otherwise suitable. One must ask why they, and the churches are so eager to take public services away from the secular space or the whole community, could it be because they want to use it for recruiting purposes and make those in need reliant on their selfless beneficence?