Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Assault on universalism

Stop blaming the unemployed and focus on universal system of mutual security

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 24 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e537
  1. Ben R Barr, consultant in public health1
  1. 1University of Liverpool, Department of Public Health and Policy, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK
  1. benbarr{at}

McKee and Stuckler indicate that one strand of the “assault on universalism” is to vilify the “undeserving poor.”1 Those who wish to reduce welfare support argue that the welfare bill is rising and unsustainable because of the number of people on out of work benefits. To justify the £4bn (€4.8 bn; $6bn) cut to out of work benefits, the coalition government associated the fact that the “welfare bill has risen by 45% in the past 10 years” …

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