The essential point of benefits is to give the needy the means to eat, keep a roof over their heads, and pay essential bills. Many hard working people are resentful of the amount that inevitably gets spent on smoking, drinking, Sky TV, etcetera.
With technologies available today, it would not be difficult to issue claimants with a card similar to a Bank card. Money gets credited to the Card directly from the Government. With the co-operation of the supermarkets and utilities, it would not be difficult to ensure that only appropriate items can be bought using the card that would fulfil the role of the welfare state from an 'approved basket'.
If people want the ability to spend money on less essential products like the 12-pack of Special Brew or a full Sky package, then they will need to earn some money to get it. It would also be possible to encourage healthy eating and discourage foods that have contributed to the obesity issue.
Why does this idea matter?
The Government has a big task of reducing costs to tackle the deficit issues. A big cost is Welfare. Efforts to reduce this cost meet harsh resistance from the populous 'because it wil cause hardship'. By increasing controls on how Benefit money is spent, the Government can work to reduce the Benefit bill and still ensure that recipients are not caused hardship and that the Government fulfills the role of the Welfare State.
Such a move would encourage self reliance to get more than the essentials in life and work to break the culture of living off benefits. We hear all to often about families receiving more in benefit than people in work, and such a system would give the potential to break this cycle
The technology is available to put this into place. The Welfare would benefit, the NHS would benefit, and the needy would benefit. Most importantly, the Country would benefit