A formerly-Labour turncoat who helped impose on millions of people the Bedroom Tax and the £30/week cut in Employment and Support Allowance has turned again – on his own party.
Lord Freud was commonly known as ‘Lord Fraud’ in response to the many false claims he made about his draconian policies – and now he has as good as admitted that the label was true.
He has said that the Benefit Cap, imposed while he was a minister at the Department for Work and Pensions in 2013 under Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron and George Osborne, did nothing to improve the nation’s finances.
Instead, it whipped up support for the Tories among the public, who had been taught to believe that people on benefits were “scroungers” and “skivers” by the Tory rhetoric of the time.
This Writer has been commenting on the Benefit Cap, almost since This Site began, pointing out continually that its claim to be an austerity measure was a sham. Now, once again, I have been proved right.
The cap was initially set to limit benefits at £26,000 a year, but this was reduced to £20,000 for people outside London and £23,000 for those in the capital in 2015.
The saving was £190 million – slightly more than 0.1 per cent of the then-£177 million social security bill. It did nothing to pay off the huge debts we were told had arisen as a result of the 2008 financial crash and the Great Recession that followed.
According to the Mirror, Freud is now saying
Mr Osborne’s chief of staff Rupert Harrison told him: “I know it doesn’t make much in the way of savings but when we tested the policy it polled off the charts. We’ve never had such a popular policy.”
Freud himself is now pleading for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to lift the cap:
I urge him to use a small proportion of [a £25 billion surplus Sunak is said to have] to alleviate the real hardship suffered by our very poorest citizens.
I doubt his sincerity.
This is the man who, after advising New Labour on ways of making the benefit system more harmful to claimants, joined the Conservatives in order to continue inflicting harm on vulnerable people with the new government that was formed in 2010.
In addition to policies like the Benefit Cap, Bedroom Tax and the cuts to sickness benefit ESA, he also tried to suggest that people with disabilities should be forced to work for less because they were not “worth” the minimum wage.
After his words created an outcry, he apologised. Perhaps he thought his own job was at risk?
When he retired to his eight-bedroomed mansion, I said he based his policies on nonsense and defended them with nonsense – and now, according to his own words, we can all see that I was right.
Now he has spoken up to attack one of those policies, on a pretext of trying to help struggling families, and I don’t believe it.
He is a Tory. He hates the poor and his policies between 2010 and 2016 demonstrate this with a horrifying consistency.
So I have to ask:
What’s in it for him?
Source: Benefit cap scandal as Tory ex-minister claims cruel policy was designed ‘to win votes’ – Mirror Online
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Perhaps he’s had a sudden epiphany like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?
The cap was never going to work because it was static when it should like all benefits rise with inflation. This is the precise reason why claimants benefits as a whole didn’t keep up with inflation and was frozen consistently.
Every claimant has been effected by this arbitrary idea, even those who didn’t come close to the cap.
What was workable at the time so they could score points with the public is now a ticking time bomb set to discredit the Tories even further if they DON’T tackle it.