Opinion: the left should back the right on welfare

Iain Duncan Smith is a right-winger. He was one of the first politicians to call for an invasion of Iraq, he is a eurosceptic. So, obviously, anything he’s proposing on welfare reform will be anathema to left-wingers. Right? Well, maybe not.

Under the current welfare system, many claimants aren’t interested in low paid work because they believe they’ll be worse off. This isn’t a guess, I’ve heard it with my own ears. This is outrageous. In the eighties, I was incensed when the Conservatives used to bang on about using tax cuts to improve incentives to the rich, but left the poverty trap in place.

Iain Duncan Smith is now proposing to do something about it. He doesn’t just believe in welfare reform, he had a blazing row with George Osborne over the issue.

There are two ways to sort out the poverty trap: allow low paid workers to keep more of their benefits as they earn more, which is expensive, or cut benefits so they have to work, which would drive the poor further into poverty. Ian Duncan Smith is proposing the expensive route, which of course means cuts elsewhere.

He wants to pay for it by cutting benefits to the relatively well-off. Sadly, stopping child benefit for bankers earning millions won’t raise enough. To fund welfare reform, it’d be necessary to take money from the middle-class.

We don’t know the detailed proposals, and so we shouldn’t offer unqualified support.

But, for those, like myself, who regard ourselves as slightly left of centre, this presents a challenge. Do we support a right-winger, who wants to cut benefits to the relatively comfortable in order to give money to the very low paid? And if we don’t, who is really the right-winger?

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  • Agree Geoff.

  • Paul: ALL of the things you are mentioning have nothing to do with IDS or the DWP, in fact they are precisely what IDS is having “blazing rows” with the Treasury over

  • Difficult to judge without seeing the detail. But, as @Paul Smith notes, where we do have concrete proposals the signs aren’t promising. And we could add in concerns about the future of the Supporting People budget which helps vulnerable households to continue living independently. Of course, the tension identified in the article is in part a tension because Osborne is pressing down so hard on the total DWP budget and that is about choices over the policy areas in which the cuts should fall or where more money should be spent (eg. on pointless reorganisations in the health service). If the Coalition dealt effective with tax evasion the tension identified could dissolve.

  • I thought the blazing row that IDS had with Osbourne was about the £3bn IDS wants up front, to set-up his vast reform program? Not the detail of the reforms.

  • Barry George 20th Aug '10 - 3:05pm

    I have to agree with Paul. The signs don’t look promising. I really do hope it turns out the way you imply George but proposals such as taking away 10 percent of a person’s Housing benefit if they have been unemployed for more than 12 months is shockingly sickening.

    Maybe LKD is right and these policies are being contested within the government but I can not offer my support to IDS whilst policies to harass the 99 percent genuine disabled and mentally ill are still on the books.

    It comes back to ideology over necessity. I am not denying the deficit but forcing those who are unfit for work to look for work when only 1 percent of such people are disingenuous regarding the ability to work isn’t about saving money or helping the poor. Its right wing ideology and it is extremely dangerous.

    First they came for the unemployed and I said nothing because I wasn’t unemployed

    Then they came for the sick and disabled and I said nothing because I was able bodied……

    Be wary of feeding a monster that may one day come to feed on you.

  • Barry George 20th Aug '10 - 3:13pm

    On a side note it is interesting to note how scarily Orwellian the articles on this site have become since we entered this kamikaze coalition.

    Regressive is Progressive

    The left should back the right.

    War is Peace.

    Freedom is slavery.

    Ignorance is strength.

  • Of course the Labour Party will oppose any serious changes to welfare. They want to have millions of people dependent on the state as they think this gives them a captive group of voters who they can terrify with stories about what the Tories and Lib Dems might do to them.

    The very worst thing for Labour would be if the Coalition welfare reform succeeds in getting people off benefits and into work. They might start to take control of their lives and think they don’t have to depend on the State. Who knows where that might end up?

  • gwenhwyfaer 20th Aug '10 - 3:30pm

    Of course the Labour Party will oppose any serious changes to welfare. They want to have millions of people dependent on the state as they think this gives them a captive group of voters who they can terrify with stories about what the Tories and Lib Dems might do to them.

    Yes, that’s why they introduced the ESA and the Work Capacity Assessment which is currently the subject of so much media fuss and attention.

    Or in other words – do stop talking out of your rectum; it’s polluting the atmosphere.

  • Dominic Curran 20th Aug '10 - 3:47pm

    @ Paul Smith

    So you think that someone who doesn’t work should be allowed to live in Soho or Chelsea on Housing Benefit, but someone like me, who works and gets a slightly above average income should never have that opportunity?

    You see, iIn reality there already is social cleansing of central London – of those in the middle, who don’t qualify for HB but nor can afford rents or house prices. As someone who is in overdraft at the end of every month, i don’t see why i should subsidise someone to live in a nicer part of town than me. By all means help those on low incomes, but don’t pay for them to live in Zone 1!

  • Paul: I honestly don’t remember where I read or saw this, could have been on news night, but it was made clear that IDS was not happy with the Treasury precluding his reforms by building X amount of savings and conditions such as cutting HB after a year, into the Emergency budget.

  • PS: I agree fully with the HB cap as it is driving the market prices up without this cap, but disagree with the 10% cut after a year, which seems a ludicrous idea picked out of the blue and unnecessary if IDS got his way with what sounds like some great ideas about making it easier for people to get back into work.

  • It doesn't add up... 20th Aug '10 - 4:23pm

    I’d love to see Paul Smith’s justification for paying out £100,000 a year of public money to house a family that has no-one working. Heck, not even the middle class mortgage subsidies come anywhere close to that – nearly enough to buy 2 MPs for a year. It’s a very strange sort of lottery prize, not open to the average council tenant.

    Does he have some productive ideas for encouraging drug addicts on benefits to improve their lives? (I’m more hopeful here, since I think we ought to explore a Portuguese style approach to decriminalisation, which seems to have been beneficial in reducing both crime and addiction rates).

    I do not think that IDS believes that the truly disabled should suffer: indeed, he probably considers that it would be a good thing to be able to afford to treat them more generously. We know that disability has been used as a mask to disguise unemployment among older workers. The trick is in distinguishing between the two, and also in ensuring that there is a realistic prospect of employment for those who are merely Labour’s hidden unemployed.

    Why concentrate on trying to define negatives, rather than trying to define solutions? Make some positive proposals on how to distinguish who is deserving, and how to improve the employment prospects of those who have been parked and abandoned by the state. You never know, your ideas might get taken up. It’s a coalition government, after all. Provide solutions, and you can rightly claim to be making a real contribution to government. Provide solutions that work and are implemented, and voters will see that you truly deserve their attention and maybe their vote. The issue isn’t just whether to support IDS as George Kendall suggests: it’s to help him make the best possible job of sorting out the welfare mess. That’s the difference between government and opposition.

  • Barry George 20th Aug '10 - 4:32pm


    I too would love to have the income to live in zone 1. I don’t think I would actually move there, I would just like the income to have that choice…

    I agree that Housing benefit should be limited to affordable rent in less affluent area’s but where do you draw the line ? Do you want unemployed people all locked together in ghettos?

    Once you say to people that if you lose your job you have to move to a different part of town, you are opening up a can of worms that ends up being rather distasteful. It has the potential to create much greater segregation of the poor from not only the rich but just about anyone who has a job.

    Like I say, I agree with the principle of your point but it’s very, very muddy water.

    However, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. There are of course, with any set of policies, going to be one or two policies that in principle make sense.

    I think it is unwise to single out the small number of policies that are ok from the huge mass of policies that are dangerous and reckless.

    Take a man who spends a year frantically looking for work but due to the recession is unable to find a job. To take 10 % of his housing benefit away is a disgusting and humiliating policy in my view.

    If you openly support the benefit policies of this coalition then policies like the one above is what you will get.

    So rather than ‘cherry pick’ one example of where the proposed policies ‘might’ be sensible I would appreciate more your indication of whether you support the policies as a whole?

    A good sound bite policy that makes sense and appeals to the public could turn out to be a Trojan horse with a world of hurt hidden inside.

    Once these changes are passed through the government then it’s too late to say ‘But I thought you meant…’

  • The problem wit hthe policy is that it comes from the myth the Conservatives like to perpetuate: the reason people are unemployed is because people don’t want to work, and as such people need added incentive to work. The mundane reality is that there isn’t enough jobs in many places in the country, especially unskilled jobs suitable for the long-term unemployed. There is little in the way of government assistance to help them learn a trade and move into employment.

    Very few people choose to live off of the meagre benefits provided by the state – anyone who has tried knows it. Of course, people from a position of high priviledge looking down through their distorrted Daily Mail or Telegraph lenses don’t see the reality and simply see work-shy scum.

  • Dominic Curran 20th Aug '10 - 5:19pm

    @ barry george

    i don’t want estates to be ghettos. many already are, especially in london, and i don’t want them to be worse, which is what the tory policies will do.

    the removal of 10% of HB after a year is indeed disgusting.

    talk of HB and council tenancy reform is all essentially rearranging deckchairs, or reallocating a very small cake. i want the cake to be bigger. the solution is to build more council homes. by increasing supply you reduce demand for more expensive private lettings, you create jobs and tax revenue, you end the miserable overcrowded living conditions of many of the most marginalised in society and you have a lovely public asset at the end that you can borrow on should you ever need to.

    if anyone is going to conference, you should make contact with simon hughes and make your support for his opposition to these proposals known.

  • David Allen 20th Aug '10 - 5:41pm

    IDS means well, but he is far from being the first to tilt at this windmill. Getting rid of the poverty trap is fearsomely expensive. That’s why the most likely outcome is that he will get disillusioned and just give up, when he sees all the compensating cuts which Osborne will demand – not necessarily unreasonably.

    Cutting middle-class child benefit probably just won’t be enough, on its own, to have the sort of impact on the poverty trap that IDS is looking for. That’s a practical objection.

    If I can paraphrase George Kendall’s argument (and burlesque it a bit!), I think George is saying: “Yeah, maybe this won’t totally solve the poverty trap on its own, but hey, it’s a transfer from the middle class to ameliorate the poverty trap, so come on you lefties, this is progressive, so it has to be a good thing, right?”

    Well, my first answer is, there are lots of things you could do which are progressive, you could burgle Fred the Shred and hand out fivers to the all-day drinkers in pubs, but being progressive doesn’t necessarily make it good, however leftie you are. Having children costs money whatever class you are, so, it is rational to ask the childless middle-class to subsidise the child-rearing middle-class, who are taking on the socially useful task of perpetuating the species! If you really want to be progressive, there are surely better ways to go about it.

  • Colin Green 20th Aug '10 - 7:22pm

    You argue as if it is taken as read that reducing benefits for those who won’t work is a bad thing. Is a carrot AND stick approach really that bad? Allowing people to keep more of their benefits if they take on low paid work is a good thing. Taking benefits away from the well paid is also just fine with me. Is there a good idealogical reason why people who have been unemployed LONG TERM couldn’t have some reduction in benefits IF there is work available and they refuse it?

    Speaking for myself, if I became unemployed, I would want to spend time looking for a new job as well paid as the old but I would join a temping agency fairly soon and take on what work I could whilst still looking for a “proper” job. Benefits should protect those who are between jobs not take the place of paid work surley? Or I am wrong here?

  • Barry George 20th Aug '10 - 7:56pm


    There is no right and wrong , but there is right and left

    I know people who have applied for quite literally ‘hundreds’ of jobs and they don’t even get an interview.

    It is ok for those of us with skills that are in demand but who wants to employ a mentally ill person who suffers from panic attacks and auditory hallucinations , has a blank CV and no qualifications or skills..

    It’s not a level playing field. You can take as much benefit money back from such people as you like but it is not going to make someone employ them. There simply are not the jobs available nor is there the will of employers to employ them.

    So you may like the stick but I believe that in the majority of cases you will succeed in inflicting pain on the unemployed but pointless pain as employers won’t be any more tempted to employ them then they were before.

    Punishing people who work their socks off trying to find employment by cutting their housing benefit may not be wrong in your opinion but it is certainly right wing.

    You don’t state your political allegiance (if you have one) but you certainly come across as a Tory. Certainly not a Liberal … well, certainly not a pre-election non orange book Liberal… well, who can tell these days 

    I am beginning to understand why the public believe that we have lost our unique identity….

    I find it hard to spot it myself…

  • Sometimes, entusiastic, pro-coalition Lib Demmers try to caricaturise ALL Tories as rabid poor-hating sociiopaths. I think IDS, in this instance, shows that this view is little more than spin. His is a great idea, something the Left would have done too, an ideal circumstances. I for one am wholly behind IDS’s poroposal.

  • Philip Rolle 21st Aug '10 - 1:23am

    The only way of providing jobs for the marginally fit for work is to set up a government agency to employ them. Private sector employers will, as stated, simply not employ people who they regard as unreliable.

    It is remiss for Lib Dems to support the recategorisation of those on ESA/IB without ensuring that the state is making adequate provision to give them a fair chance of finding work.

    Child benefit, by contrast, must be paired back. I would support withdrawal except for the first child. Withdrawal would need to be tapered.

    Winter fuel allowances should be available only to those eligible for pension credit or attendance allowance. However, the pension credit rules must be amended so ensure that the savings income taken into account is much nearer the actual amount received. Currently, the benefit deems interest to accrue at £1 per week ie 10.4%.

  • @Dane Coulston

    I am a fan of your thinking. I have always wanted to replace income welfare with a citizen’s dividend.

  • Colin Green 21st Aug '10 - 9:09am

    Barry George,

    I understand that right wing politics doesn’t like benefits for the poor an supports reducing them. You seem to have missed my qualification of refusing work. Those who can’t find work despite trying hard to find some are the very people who need protection of the state.

    Part of liberalism is responsibility. Every individual has the primary responsible for providing for themselves. The state’s role should be secondary. I seek only to discern between those who can’t work or who can’t find work and those who won’t work even if given the opportunity. I’d rather give more of the limited benefits pot to those who do what they can.

    As far as my political allegiance, I like to stir things up a bit so often adopt the role of devil’s advocate. I’m beginning to get the impression that this is lost on this website.

  • Just wanted to point out that child benefit and tax credit are administered by HMRC not DWP. Any such savings realised by those won’t necessarily go into welfare reform but into HMRC pet projects. So bring those benefits under the purview of DWP would be a good start

  • Barry George 21st Aug '10 - 1:09pm


    You seem to have missed my qualification of refusing work. Those who can’t find work despite trying hard to find some are the very people who need protection of the state.

    I didn’t miss it Colin. It simply doesn’t apply. There is no proposal to protect those who are trying hard to find work. The government will simply take away 10 % of these peoples housing benefit regardless of how hard they have been trying to find work.

    So, if you believe these people ‘need protection of the state’ then you are clearly against the government position which is to remove protection from those who need it most.

  • @smcg
    “The very worst thing for Labour would be if the Coalition welfare reform succeeds in getting people off benefits and into work.”

    What work? There are not going to be any jobs because 600,000 of existing jobs are being axed by the Blue and Orange Tories. The reason it is difficult to get people off benefits and into work is because the private sector and the market simply does not provide the number of jobs required. The way to remove people from benefit dependency is to nationalise large sectors of the economy which will provide the necessary jobs and insist that people take them. Or set up a huge programme of public works. Of course, Blue and Orange Tories would argue that this would simply be the redirection of existing benefits. But there was a time in this country when we had a mixed economy and the market did not have the dominance it enjoys today. In those days unemployment was around 250,000 and there was no such thing as a benefits culture. Another solution to the problem is a world war of course.

  • Philip Rolle 21st Aug '10 - 7:04pm

    IDS’s pledge to allow people to keep 55% of their pay/benefits can only hold good if they have a job in the first place.

    In my view, welfare reform only has a realistic prospect of success if it is undertaken at a stage in the economic cycle when employment is growing steadily. For this reason, it is going to be very difficult to undertake in the next three or four years.

    My concern is that, for some within the coalition, welfare reform is a euphemism for reducing the cost of ESA/IB and housing benefit. Cold budgetary calculation that will reduce the quality of peoples’ lives.

    Is that really what Lib Dems joined the coalition for?

  • Barry George 21st Aug '10 - 7:44pm

    @ Philip Rolle

    In my view, welfare reform only has a realistic prospect of success if it is undertaken at a stage in the economic cycle when employment is growing steadily.

    Yes, common sense would suggest that to be the case, but ideology before reality is in affect here.

    My concern is that, for some within the coalition, welfare reform is a euphemism for reducing the cost of ESA/IB and housing benefit.

    Welfare reform without realistic employment opportunities is nothing short of an attack on the vulnerable that can’t fight back. It can simply be translated to ‘we need to recover the deficit so let’s start with the poor’.

    Many of us (as George just pointed out) can remember the poverty on the streets the last time the political right had the reigns and I, for one, fear for what is to come from this coalition.

    Is that really what Lib Dems joined the coalition for?

    I voted Liberal and always have but I would have not done so if I had known that we would enter a pact with the Conservatives. So I best leave the fully paid up ‘members’ of the party to answer that question…

  • it is not Welfare Reform it is the beginning of removing welfare targetting the most vulnerable group first. We are being held to blame for the deficit while the real culprits are not being targeted at all because you dare not.
    The new Work Capability Asessment to be introduced for ESA ( that is even more stringent than the original ) is designed to take many more sick and disabled off not only the support group but also DLA itself. Perhaps you should all do some research into this. The Guide for Decision Makers also clearly states the use of ESA medicals to remove DLA benefits. I have also read in DWP literature that Consultants and GP’s clinical diagnoses should not be taken too much into account. So a short ‘medical’ by ATOS staff who may not even be doctors will decide whether a sick or disabled person will be fit for work. The descriptors of not being able to walk far is being removed and the term ‘mobilise for 50 metres’ is being used with the use of an ‘imaginary’ wheelchair. These are their words not mine. Unable to bend and kneel is also being removed as is the type of chair you can sit in, changed from ‘upright’ to ‘adjustable’. If you can hold a pen or use a keyboard you will be deemed ‘fit for work’. As only tick boxes are used you wil not be able to explain that you can only do this for a few minutes. There are more changes and those with mental illnesses will not fare well either.
    Will employers really employ us? NO!! Will they install ‘imaginary’ ramps for our ‘imaginary’ wheelchairs or spend money on all the new health and safety measures they wil need?, We will not even get an interview. Unemployment is set to rise and we will not be able to find work as no employer will take anyone on is who is likely to be taking a lot of time off. We are being f orced into poverty and fear. The hatred being whipped up against us is terrifying and nobody seems to be speaking up for us. Will these so called ATOS medics be instructed next to put a plus sign on the form? Far fetched? I doubt that people in Germany would have thought that doctors would have done this. They were softened up by a hate campaign first as well.
    I do not believe that the Lib Dems would have voted for these measures introduced by the Labour government yet you appear to be seizing them avidly under the coalition and expanding on them. Where has your fairness gone? Indeed where has your conscience gone? Do you really know or care what is going on or are you also just feeding from the hype?
    I suggest that you actually find out what is really going on. All the information is there on the Decision Makers Guides and the internal DWP literature if you can be bothered to look for it. Before you say it, I did not type this, my son did it for me as I am unable to use the keyboard for this long.

  • Philip Rolle 22nd Aug '10 - 10:55am

    Agreed. The new work capability assessment is far too stringent.

    Unfortunately, the more ATOS certify as fit for work, the more they save the government in money ( and they also increase their chances of in due course retaining the contract ). I would urge all who goattend an ATOS medical to appeal against the result where necessary. Many of the decisions are being overturned at tribunal.

    It is very disappointing that Lib Dems are complicit in what is effectively an attack on the vulnerable in order to save money.

  • Barry George 22nd Aug '10 - 1:47pm

    @ Anne Waters

    Excellent post that fully describes the fear of those living on ESA and DLA. I hope it makes people think about what it is they are actually supporting when they call for ‘welfare reform’. I have tried my best to get people to see the catastrophic reality that this government is pushing ahead at full speed with attacks on the sick, the disabled, the mentally ill and the unemployed, but to little avail.

    There is none so blind as those who will not see.

  • Barry George 22nd Aug '10 - 3:48pm

    @George Kendall

    @Anne Waters
    Thankyou for your comments. I have a lot of sympathy for what you are saying, but I’m not going to respond because I don’t want to knock this thread off its topic

    A little pedantic maybe George ? I have not seen Anne here before and she obviously has some health issues and real fears about her future. And your point…. is that even though she took the time and even enlisted the help of her son to make her point, which is on the subject of ‘welfare reform’, she didn’t put it in the right thread !

    See, this thread is about welfare reform but only with regard to the strictly specific ‘idea’s’ of IDS. Dare not speak of actual government welfare policy or you will be politely moved on.

    I repeat my statement on the Orwellian behaviour of grass roots Lib Dem’s. Your stated unwillingness to apologise for it is not in itself justification..

    First thing after the election this site was a wash with ‘its all Labours fault’ but now it is about a pseudo denial of genuine fear, concern and confusion by members of the public.

    Anne clearly has a valid point. She has taken the time to seek out this site and she has made what i guess must have been quite a considerable effort to post here.

    She may not address IDS’s proposals directly but she is dealing with actual and clearly defined government policy on welfare and this thread is discussing hypothetical government policy on welfare.

    .Bad Bad Anne… She should have realised that this was a hypothetical discussion and no place to bring genuine concerns about the actions of Lib Dem’s in government who support the very same policies that cause her so much concern.

    She is looking for support and for you, a self claimed ‘slightly left of centre’ contributor to dismiss her by using the ‘you’re in the slightly wrong topic dear’ defence is inappropriate in my opinion.

    How are such people, who let’s face it, have enough problem’s in life, supposed to fight back against the policies that affect them so much when they have to remember to dot their “I’s” and cross their “T’s” and god forbid post in EXACTLY the right thread or they will be dismissed.

    I do not doubt that you genuinely have a lot of sympathy for Anne. But sympathy alone won’t help her. Speak up , respond , encourage others to do so, but please, please don’t dismiss her…

    I thought that the issue now was about re-gaining a public perception of our unique identity that according to the polls, we have lost.

    We won’t be re-gaining much public approval by not responding to people like Anne.

  • Barry George 22nd Aug '10 - 4:01pm

    @ George Kendall

    @Anne Waters
    On reflection, I’m not happy with my previous response.

    I am glad you stopped and thought, Mea culpa for not noticing that you had corrected yourself, but I was writing my above reply at the time.

    I won’t speak for Anne , but I thank you for taking the time to take her more seriously…

  • Philip Rolle 22nd Aug '10 - 8:22pm

    Perhaps someone should write an opinion on

    (a) the integrity of the ATOS Origin testing procedure ( pursuant to the Purnell “reforms” )

    (b) what, if anything, should replace it to make it fairer; and,

    (c) whether the state should have a permanent role in employing the marginally fit for work through some sort of Remploy agency

    I have already expressed my view that a government agency must be set up re ( c) above.

    As to (a) and (b), I would submit that the high proportion of ATOS decisions overturned on appeal suggests that something is wrong with the medical assesssment procedure.

  • Barry George 22nd Aug '10 - 9:37pm

    @ Philip Rolle

    Perhaps someone should write an opinion on (a), (b), (c)


    It is due time these welfare reforms are thoroughly scrutinised and analysed. To me they are nothing more than an excuse for the ideological victimisation of the weak and vulnerable.

    But whilst we are ‘pussy footing’ around the subject, talking about what IDS may or may not want, we are avoiding facing the stark reality of a painful and traumatic future that will affect millions of people in this country.

    The ‘actual’ welfare reforms need to be examined and probed in detail on this site. Avoiding subjects that we are uncomfortable with may be convenient but it certainly isn’t winning us any awards. It’s time to face the public with the policies we are apparently willing to vote through parliament.

    There is too much hiding behind pseudo nuances and ‘kind of’ debates that just come across as if we are simply avoiding the issues.

    Please tackle this one ‘head on’ LDV and give us a chance to express our ‘voice’ on subjects that apparently make some members uncomfortable.

    The policies are real, the pain is going to be real so for goodness sake let the debate be real too.

    I respect what George is trying to do here but we need so much more, we need…. A backbone!

    Not implying that George doesn’t have one but it is no good if the site is spineless and unwilling to confront ‘our’ own party on the issues that really count.

    This one counts…

  • Im very worried. When wil they test people on Income Support, not Invalidity Benefit. – People with personality disorders or mental illness like manic depression or schizophrenia or Aspergers or autism will inevitably fail their tests.

    Those who are resistant to this being turfed out, will have to get their only hot meal from coupons in THE SUN like everyday last week during the Conservative conference. ANd from coupons in the The Star and Daily Express to provide their only drinks and snacks.

    The fact that people who cant stand doenst count as they are scored as being being in a wheelchair, and
    cannot submit medical reports by the American ASOS company.

    It will be like the USA system with maximum time limits. Minimalist and payments of the lowest common demoninator. Chris Grayling copied Tony Blair in his speech to conference: “No doubt the rules of the game are changing”

    Chris Grayling said “We will roll out the biggest Welfare-to-Work programme the world has ever seen. And that is just the start….

  • Protecting the vunrable? Who does the goverment think are vunrable? The squeezed MiddleClass? Certainly not the sick and disabled?
    Someone who is currently receiving Incapacity Benefit and Income Support with mortgage intreast support. Will benefit from losing their house sometime next year due to MIS being reduced below the intrest rate they pay, being assessed for ESA then having to go on treatment plans and positive thinking courses, followed by having their ESA reduced after one year. If they also get DLA they can look forward to having that reassesed in 2013.
    If they find themselves reassessed as no longer incapable of working then they can look forward to a massive reduction in benefit, then if in rented accomodation a further 10% cut in any housing benefit after one year. If they have a morgage and have somehow managed to makeup the shortfall caused by lowering MIS they will proably no longer be able to do so on job seekers allowance and after two years will no longer get any MIS anyway.
    Maybe the idea is to encourage them to kill themselves, or make them so ill with worry and stress they die of natural causes.

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