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Posts Tagged ‘Benefits’

To be elected in 2020, the Labour Party needs to confront one problem above all others.

And that problem is that it is seen as the party of poor people.

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Brace yourselves but the Tories have announced not one but two policies! And both are quite populist as in consecutive days they’ve promised to freeze railway fares for the duration of the next Parliament and provide the NHS with the £8 billion that one of those faceless bureaucrats they keep promising to fire claims it needs. Let’s leave the NHS policy to one side. It’s a shameless bribe that is meaningful only to the extent that it shows that George Osborne has not undone Gordon Brown’s legacy of shifting public opinion towards higher public spending.But the Tories pledging to intervene in the railways is much more interesting.

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Iain Duncan Smith, author of the Welfare Bill. (c) PA

You can’t accuse the Conservative party of being out of touch. They’ve heard the recent wave of discontent aimed at the 1% and produced legislation aim to hit them where it hurts; in the wallet. However, it is unfortunate that they’ve taken aim at the top 1% of benefit claimants rather than the extremely wealthy as Occupy intended. The highly publicised benefit cap is winding its path through the Lords right now as part of the coalition’s flagship Welfare Bill but far from a principled stance, or a necessary adjustment, it is simply playing politics with the lives of the poorest to save a pathetic 0.1% from the welfare budget.

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Lord Beveridge: Founder of the welfare state.

Liam Byrne probably imagines himself as a teller of uncomfortable truths; the man who instituted a retroactive immigration policy to the horror of his own party has now been entrusted to tell Labour what is wrong with the welfare state. By adapting the principles of Lord Beveridge to confront the problem of benefit dependency he has, quite intentionally, infuriated much of the intellectual left.

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