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The Government is planning to spend £200m of lottery money in an effort to reduce truancy and youth crime. 8,000 homework clubs will be the first venture of the new Social Exclusion Unit. The announcment came as the government faces a backbench revolt in the Commons over its plans to cut lone parent benefits.

The Social Exclusion Unit will co-ordinate efforts to help free the most alienated and disadvantaged people in society from the vicious circle of poverty, unemployment and crime.

Many people would say that the poor should help themselves. They say that the government doesn't have to throw money at the poverty

Others say that poor people need the government's support to help them get out of the vicious circle of poverty, unemployment and crime. What do you think? Would more benefits make a difference? Do we already use too much money helping the poor?
Your reaction in full

Should we spend more on the poor? Your reaction

If we want to help the poor, it is necessary to give them handouts when they need it, so that they can at least afford the bare necessities of life like food and warmth. However, we also need to help them to help themselves so that in the long run they can stop being poor. There is a need for both kinds of help.
Beng Tang, UK

Why should the poor be handed more money? Many of us work extremely hard to ensure that we have a steady income rather than simply expecting handouts. The more money that is given to the poor for no reason, the more they will fall into the mentality that they should be given handouts, and the less likely they are to try and get some honest decent work.
Dave Sayers, UK

Benefits do not encourage slothùrather they allow the under- and unemployed to maintain dignity and continue to participate in society.  The money spent on the poor ultimately returns and pays dividends as they too spend money on food, housing, clothing, etc., investing in the economy and thus helping to create jobs. Forcing the poor out of society, their homes, into starvation and ill-health helps nobody and will cost us all more in the end as we try to clean up the massive problems caused by 18 years of Tory greed and willfull mismanagement.
Moya Luckett, USA

Asking if we should spend more on the poor is not as straight forward as it sounds. The question we should really be asking is who is poor. I believe that ôpovertyö does not exist in Britain today. What is claimed to be poverty is by the standards of many nations luxury. One idea which puzzles me is that crime and poverty are linked. In nations with real poverty stealing to survive could be justified. In today`s UK crime is commited to feed addictions, and to add to a relatively luxurious lifestyle.
John Geston, United Kingdom

Since nothing in world is totally independant. The relationship between the rich and the poor should be a mutually beneficial one. They are the driving force in economics. Poverty is a man made tragedy.What does it profit a government to have a surplus in revenue while its country men, women and children go hungry.
A A Brown, USA

The question of spending more public money on reducing the current poverty level cannot be in any doubt. If the country as a whole is to enjoy its prosperity then it is vital that the Government addresses the poverty question by concentrating its longterm investment programme on reducing the level of unemployment. If the poverty situation is to be improved it is critical that this is done by helping people to find work and therefore helping themselves.
Simon Davies, Swansea.

Yes only if it's guaranteed the poor are actually benefitting from the money and not just somebody claiming to be poor.
J Granic, Canada

We need wiser allocation of the funds we already invest in the poor:
i.e. lower the bureaucratic costs and number of bureaucrats. We need to encourage the family unit - parental responsibility, an emphasis on lowering the divorce rate, as well as illegitemacy rates. We need to give our time - not just quality time to children. If we do these things, we will truly be helping the poor.
B Browning, U.S.A.

Perhaps the poor should have a say. IsnÆt it strange that laws enacted that will effect the poor are made by the rich?
Helen, USA

Yes, I think a Social Exclusion Unit is a good idea. The idea that poverty relief simply spoils people and makes them more dependent is just nonsense. No one wants to be poor. Saying that poor people just need to help themselves is a cheap excuse for not having to put in any effort ourselves.
Michel Soudan, China, Beijing

What the poor need is what everyone needs, proper character training.   Throwing money at the problem only makes it worse, it encourages them to remain in the same state in which they currently reside. Provide character training and the poor will benefit monetarily and as moral beings. They are people, not entities in a social experiment.
Jim Johnson, USA

How much money do these people want? We already pay enough in our taxes - and charities want more money at every term... can't they be encouraged to do more to help themselves? Without even more money being spent. With all the spongers out there, we're just sending good money after bad.
Bob Dwyer, England.

Surely participation in society, is a human right. How can the poor ever hope to realise this goal, if they are prejudiced against from the start. Thus, to cure the problem we must have self-help schemes which tackle the root cause of poverty - prejudice due to lack of adequate skills and the continuance of a hierarchy of class caused by the inequality of opportunities the previous government presided over. Who has the right to stand up and judge someone before they are given a chance? It is both beneficial in moral and practical terms to give more money to help the poor.
Maheen Ghobadian, United Kingdom

Is the poverty of some an inevitable consequence of the way society is?   If it is, then no matter how much money is thrown at the poor, the poor will always be with us and to change that state of affairs would require something more more radical.
Therion Ware, Malaysia

For a great many people the question has been reduced to whether or not æWEÆ should be paying for THEM. It is this cynical attitude, of people who regard their good fortune in life as some kind of moral victory, thus excusing them for any responsibility for their neighbour, that must be addressed if we are ever to treat society as a whole, rather than as a set of two opposing camps.
John Luby, Scotland

Is the issue really how much we spend to help the poor, or how we spend it? Clearly the disadvantaged need our help, but it seems that in most cases, we end up with masses of people dependent on the government for survival. Just how are the young people in this environment supposed to help themselves? Are they just to pick up and move to the suburbs?  Which of us is ready to accomodate and re-socialize them? I don't have the answers, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking that disadvantaged people are able to make choices that don't exist.
Tony Killian, USA

The fact that we all live in the same society dictates that the richer group must make efforts in eliminating poverty of the poorer group, if not out of compassion or love, at least out of the consideration of their own benefits in doing so because I trust nobody sincerely desires a society full of discontent, vice and crimes.
Nie Rui, UK

There are human beings out there who do not have the benefit of a good education. Governments need to spend more money on a decent education for everyone, community projects with sports facilities and support networks for single parents.A country should provide decent healthcare and housing for everyone. Until this happens the wave of crime will continue from generation to generation. We need to start somewhere and children are our future.
Margaret McFarlane, New Zealand

Why not spend on poor, as one third of the global population lives below subsistence level, the rich nations can't imagine the hunger & misery facing the third world & poor nations.
Mazhar Iqbal, Pakistan

People have to be given opportunity and hope. Without that the vicious circle of poverty and unemployment never ends. It is time our society started to tackle the issues that have been ignored for so long, especially by the previous Government. The selfish Look after number 1 mentality has no place in the modern era.
David Mitchell, United Kingdom

The extra money should be spent only on ideas that make the poor do something for themselves, in order to qualify for the money. Foe example, if the youngsters are prepared to go out and help the aged in their area, by performing a regular chore, then this sort of contribution could be rewarded, by giving them the chance to go on a skills course somewhere.
John Griffiths, Zimbabwe

It is the poor who play the lottery in the hope of finding a way out of their situation. It is only right that they benefit from the profits.  The poor do not go to musems, opera or the ballet, yet these institutions get millions from lottery funds. Charity begins at home, being poor is not a choice. We need to spend more on the environment that these people grow up in. Teachers should imptress on youngsters that they are capable of changing things and there should be more money spent on training for those who leave school at 16.
Alex Lomas, USA

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