With the changes to the welfare system and Universal Credit, it feels our country has once again chosen to punish those who are poor as if poverty is something those who are poor ought to feel guilty about. It like the nation is saying to those on Universal credit, you've ruined our reputation so we'll punish you for it and you can wait 6 weeks till you receive any money. Why doesn't it compute that if you have no money then six weeks means debt, hunger and every greater poverty. It shames us.
At the same time I have just read a book 'Utopia for Realists' which you just have to buy. One of the big ideas, though certainly not a new one is Universal Basic Income where everyone gets an income of something like £15,000 which is yours to do with as you wish. And other income from a salary goes on top of that. But what you do immediately is irradicate poverty.
As soon as you mention UBI everyone finds excuses or can't quite understand why everyone should get it. We have an ethic where you have to work for even the basics to survive whereas the kingdom, surely, is built on a society that provides enough food, water, clothes etc to live (read Matthew's sheep and goats and 'when did we ever see you hungry?' etc). We don't even seem moved towards that now-a-days.
Finland has begin a two year experiment with UBI and while we imagine folk will just take it and use it for addiction, gambling or vice (what does that say about us) what actually happens is people work harder because they have an income that enables them to do what they are best at rather than have to jump through hoops all the time proving they are looking for work. It enables people to live more fully, it enables society to get rid of poverty in one move and it create people who are happier, more confident and not feeling guilty because they are poor.