Why people struggle

Darling’s first budget has left me cold. Smug (see Oliver Hartwich’s post on Coffee House) and do-nothing (but see Tim Harford’s Undercover Economist blog on FT.com). I have been far more struck today by the statistic told me at supper this evening by my wife. There is apparently £2.5 billion of pension credit unclaimed. Why? Because the system is so complex people cannot understand it, even if they know about it (and many don’t); they cannot fill in the forms; many simply do not know they are entitled and there remains if not the stigma of welfare, the feeling that they have never claimed, they are able to do without it and are not going to start now. This is a truly appalling fact, and epitomises all that is wrong with this government.

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