Cameron’s heart really isn’t in this election campaign, is it?
Today he’s been rehashing an old lie about the Coalition’s Benefit Cap – that it encourages people into work.
The Cap – for those who have been out of the country or incapacitated in some way since 2012 – limits benefits to £26,000 per family. When it was first put in place, the Tories claimed that this was equal to the average income of British families, and people on benefits should not earn more.
That might seem fair – but the average income of British families – taking everything into account, rather than just wages as the Tories did – is in fact around £31,000. And that was just the first lie!
It wasn’t long before Work and Pensions ghoul Iain Duncan Smith was implicated in another untruth, when he claimed that the mere mention of the Cap sent around 8,000 benefit claimants scurrying into employment. It was another lie; he was reprimanded by Andrew Dilnot of the UK Statistics Authority for that one!
Now Cameron has repeated his assertion that the Tories will reduce the capped figure to £23,000 if elected into office in May – because £26,000 clearly isn’t humiliating enough for unemployed familes and he wants to make them suffer (his words may have varied from this).
According to the BBC, “He said he was responding to public concerns the cap, which sets a maximum limit for state support for individual households, was set at too low a level.” Too low – so he wants to make it lower? The man is demented.
He also rejected calls for Child Benefit to be exempted from the Cap – showing his true colours on the matter of child poverty. Cameron is all for increasing it!
Cameron claimed on Radio 4’s Today programme that the Cap was having the desired effect and that about 40 per cent of households which were no longer subject to the cap had found work. Tory figures are notoriously untrustworthy, though.
Also, when he says a policy is having “the desired effect”, what effect is that, exactly?
“The evidence is that the cap set at £26,000 has worked. Many thousands of households that were subject to that cap have gone out and found work.
“It shows that many who have been subject to the cap have been more successful in finding work than those who have not.”
Does it really? If so many people have found work, then perhaps Mr Cameron can explain why Income Tax receipts have fallen under his leadership?