Nearly 70 years ago, when William Beveridge designed the welfare state he imagined a system that would give people protection from cradle to grave. Not one that would act as a crutch every day in between. The state must offer security in hard times. But it should not, he warned, ‘stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility’.
In the words of another great liberal, John Stuart Mill, ‘assistance should be a tonic – not a sedative’. I couldn’t agree more.