Labour badly needs to clarify its policy on the benefit cap – the Tories will reduce it in just seven weeks

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I sincerely hope Joe Halewood is mistaken about Labour’s current attitude to the Benefit Cap.

He ends an excellent article connecting the lowering of the Tory Benefit Cap in seven weeks with the lack of effective opposition from Ed Miliband’s Labour Party by claiming that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is no better.

But he also admits Mr Corbyn said in 2015 he had been working with then-shadow Work and Pensions secretary Owen Smith on a policy to eliminate the Benefit Cap and questions whether Mr Smith was the problem.

This is a persuasive argument.

We know that Mr Smith is particularly fearful of upsetting the right-wing press, and has said he will not follow policies that could make Labour appear “weak on benefits”.

But Owen Smith is not Work and Pensions shadow any more, and it is unlikely he will be able to influence policy after Jeremy Corbyn retains the Labour leadership on Saturday.

Perhaps it is time Debbie Abrahams clarified Labour’s position on this?

Every time I see this picture which aptly sums up the Labour Party from 2010 onwards and the Labour Party that the PLP and the NEC want to go back to I despair.  It is pure unadulterated Thatcherite I’m Alright Jack, Fuck You policy and reveals just how far to the right the Labour Party lurched under Blair.

Last week the government finally laid the new regulations to impose the 23% reduction in the Benefit Cap levels and confirmed it is to start on 7 November 2016.  So in 7 short weeks time the numbers of homeless children will increase from the current outrage of 100,000 to at least 500,000 and probably closer to 700,000.

Also last week the same DWP issued the LHA maxima cap statement that will ensure that homeless provision will not be fully funded through Housing Benefit.

Tory Housing Benefit policy is thus to create a huge increase in homelessness with the Benefit Cap and to cut the funding for homeless provision with the LHA maxima cap at one and the same time.

Work will always pay more says Damian Green the new minister at the DWP reciting that mantra on this morning’s Marr show and conveniently forgetting to tell us that almost 60% of those hit by the current Benefit Cap are lone parents who pre-school age children and not expected to work; and also that the current benefit-capped households contain more in receipt of ESA which replaced the more aptly named Incapacity Benefit than those in receipt of JSA (ie dole) and so they are mostly unable to work.

It should come as no surprise that reducing the Benefit Cap level was also in the Labour Party’s 2015 general election manifesto (page 47) as their history of challenge to any ‘welfare’ issue from 2010 onwards was a catalogue of no opposition at all.

The Labour Party from 2010 to the resignation of Miliband were s**t-scared to oppose any Tory ‘welfare’ policy in case they were seen as the party OF welfare.

The abject lack of any challenge to any ‘welfare’ policy by Her Majesty’s Official Opposition has ALLOWED these policies to be implemented.  Even worse is that if you have a shred of humanity and are opposed to half a million children being evicted and made homeless you are a Trotskyite or a Corbynista or some other such b****cks of a meaningless label.

Source: 7 weeks till Benefit Cap Doomsday – Not even ‘Corbynistas’ have humanity?! – SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

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14 thoughts on “Labour badly needs to clarify its policy on the benefit cap – the Tories will reduce it in just seven weeks

  1. Florence

    While Joe makes some good points, having an anti-“Corbynista” screaming headline worthy of The Fail on the last day of the leadership voting does not endear Joe to the Corbyn supporters today.

    Does he want to help or hinder?

  2. joanna

    SPeye Joe says that Corbyn doesn’t care about welfare and the benefit cap, He voted Against it! What more is he supposed to do without the power?!!
    SPeye Joe also says that out of all Jeremy’s policies, not one tackles the benefit cap, in another sentence he clearly contradicts himself by putting up a statement from Jeremy himself, saying he would get rid of the “benefit cap” altogether.

    SPeye Joe, if you don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, that is your right but don’t make yourself look foolish by contradicting yourself and putting out false information. There are enough liars in politics as it is.

    Go Corbyn!!!

  3. yarmouthboy

    Strong language but entirely appropriate. Do the Tories and New Labour MP’s really hate one parent families so much that they are prepared to see a large increase in homelessness which will impact on young children? Is this a return to Victorian attitudes about unmarried mothers and “bastard” children? These days I am ashamed to be an Englishman. I spend a lot of time in Spain and out here children are revered. There is of course homelessness and poverty here but Spanish recognize that children are the next generation and have policies which offer more protection than the UK does. It can only get worse if Brexit means Brexit.

  4. lin wren

    I really hope that JC stands up & speaks for all of us that are being penalised for being unemployed, single parent, disabled or pensioner. This can not be allowed to go through. Again. The Conservatives are damaging & disrespecting the weakest in our society. They truly need to be gotten rid of before they kill anymore

  5. John

    “But Owen Smith is not Work and Pensions shadow any more, and it is unlikely he will be able to influence policy IF Jeremy Corbyn retains the Labour leadership on Saturday.”

    FTFY – tut tut ! 😉 😉

  6. kiddycapfury

    Great article, with many many good points that need underlining. However, I seem to be the only person to be pointing out that many workers are on the benefit cap. This can happen in several ways: Jsa – work fewer than 16h/week; uc – earn less than £430/month take home pay. The final option is erratic work,so common now such as zero hours, seasonal, supply etc. Its particularly punitive on uc since the work allowance cannot be carried forward; your benefit can be capped after you’ve already lost 65p in the £ (after the first £340/m). This is making work reduce your level of capping, not makig work pay.

  7. Doggy

    A lot of the attacks on social security made principally by George Osborne the so-called “political chancellor”, who did a lot of things for party political rather than economic reasons, were made cynically for purely political purposes as “bear traps” for the Labour party which Osborne wanted to paint as being “soft” on benefit claimants riding the rising tide of disapproval of the non-working driven by the media. (And still going on in papers like the Daily Mail and broadcasters like Channel 5.) Somewhat comically these bear traps actually caught their inventor, with Osborne breaching his own welfare caps and attempt to “control” such spending. Labour under Miliband was weak on these matters but then so was under Gordon Brown, who, spotting votes were to be had by waving a bit of stick about in respect to benefit claimants, involved David Freud in respect to reform of the social security system under that runty twerp James Purnell, and the involvement of the private sector into welfare provision via the Work Capability Test and Flexible New Deal etc.

    One of the reasons the Tories were able to slash and burn our social security system so quickly was because of the framework they inherited built by Labour during Brown’s brief premiership under James Purnell and later Yvette Cooper. Labour has a lot to answer for.

    Where Labour actually is on these matter is unclear.

    What will change under a Labour government?

    What if anything done by the Tories under Cameron and May would be reversed?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Don’t forget that Labour isn’t the same now. You’re right that the party’s position on these matters needs to be clarified but I don’t think it would be right to blame Jeremy Corbyn for measures instigated by Gordon Brown and his friends.

  8. Zippi

    “Work will always pay more…” Why does nobody realise how irrelevant that statement is, unless work pays you enough to support yourself? This is why we need somebody like Jeremy Corbyn.

      1. joanna

        I think people, trying to survive puts such thoughts on the back burner, also I think you probably have a lot more readers and subscribers since you made those points.
        Speaking only for myself, I have such a short-term memory, I need to be reminded.
        I have no problem remembering 40 years ago, but yesterday, not a clue!

    1. John

      You may not feel it relevant, and I don’t know if they still do it, but I remember the JC place used to do what they referred to as the “better off calculation”, whereby if you saw a job, they would calculate for you whether you would be better off staying on benefits or taking the job (depending on which paid more).
      Somehow, I’ve got a feeling that they don’t bother with that anymore, judging from the scandalous behaviour that goes on in JC’s now.

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