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.
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