Sustainability and welfare
June 29th 2012
The planet, not just the taxpayer, cannot afford large families.
Simon Ross, Population Matters chief executive, commented “Large family size is a sustainability issue, not just a question of welfare. The government should be encouraging smaller families at all income levels.”
The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is concerned about whether the benefits system is incentivising people on benefits to have large families. That may be the case, and studies have found such a link. He is concerned that this situation is unfair on those who work and is a disincentive to gainful employment.
Our growing numbers, not just in the UK but worldwide, is one of the main contributors to increasing environmental destruction and resource shortages. The outcome of the Rio+ conference on sustainable development, widely seen as disappointing, shows how difficult it is to persuade nations and individuals to moderate their consumption, demonstrating yet again that population, too, needs to be brought into the mix of solutions.
In the UK, our ever rising numbers affect everything from the size of our homes, to transport congestion, to planning pressure on our green spaces, to future water and energy security. If we are serious about sustainability, we should be seeking full employment for our existing population and taking action to achieve that. We should also be sending out the message that large families are environmentally unsustainable, at all income levels.
- 2012 Living Planet Report shows little progress towards sustainability
- Child benefit debate ignores sustainability
- Population Matters recommends child benefit should be limited to first two children
- Sustainability index points at US & emerging giants
- KPMG highlights ten sustainability ‘megaforces’ that businesses need to consider to ensure long-term survival