Category Archives: tax credits

Quote-miner Cameron has no answer on tax credit cuts – AGAIN

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You know Cameron has made a blunder when Corbyn aims this stare at him.

Conservatives should be in despair this week after David Cameron failed to answer concerns raised about cuts to tax credits – despite having a week to think about the issue.

All he could do was stutter about irrelevances and quote Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn out of context.

In Prime Minister’s Questions today, Mr Corbyn returned to the attack over the cuts – which will make three million families £1,300 a year worse off, on average.

“Last week I asked the prime minister the same question six times and he couldn’t answer,” said Mr Corbyn. “He’s now had a week to think about it. I want to ask him one more time. Can he guarantee that next April, nobody will be worse off from cuts to tax credits?”

Cameron’s response was a stutter. He tried to recover by reeling off his ‘comfort’ statistics: “£11,000 personal allowance… national living wage at £7.20… ” (We all know that the real Living Wage is currently £8.25 per hour – £9.40 per hour if you’re in London). Then he admitted: “We suffered the defeat in the House of Lords; we’ve taken the proposals away, we’re looking at them, we’ll come back with new proposals in the Autumn Statement.” And he ended with a jibe at Corbyn which is not worth publishing here but which got a response from the braying idiots behind him.

“This is not funny for people who are desperately worried about what’s going to happen next April,” countered Corbyn.

So Cameron tried to recover by changing the subject: “If we don’t reform welfare, how are we going to fund the police service… the defence service? If you listened to him, you’d still have families in London getting £100,000 a year in housing benefit,” he said, referring to Coalition Government changes to housing benefit rules that were supported by the Labour Party at the time, and therefore undermining his own point.

Corbyn was not to be deterred. He referred to a veteran of the first Gulf War, who is likely to lose £2,000 per year – more than the average – due to Cameron’s cut: “Is this how the government treats veterans of the Armed Services?”

All Cameron could do was serve up a poorly-reheated quote, off-subject and out of context: “That serving soldier is dealing with a Leader of the Opposition who said he couldn’t find any use for the armed forces, anywhere, at any time.”

This refers to a comment by Mr Corbyn during a Labour leadership hustings on Sky TV, in which he said the UK’s armed forces were overextending themselves by taking on foreign adventures as desired by Cameron. While he said he could not – on the spot – think of any reason to deploy the forces overseas, he qualified this by saying he knew there must be good reasons for doing so.

The result: Cameron out of his comfort zone, Corbyn victorious.

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After the defeat, the threats: Osborne bites back over tax credits

Humiliated: George Osborne tried argument and threats but the Lords ignored him [Image: Corbis].

Humiliated: George Osborne tried argument and threats but the Lords ignored him [Image: Corbis].

First, the climbdown: After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Lords, George Osborne has told us all that he meant it when he said he would listen, and now he’s going to offer help to people who will suffer from the loss of income represented by his tax credit cuts.

That’s right, he reckons he can achieve the savings he wants, and offer help to his victims. He’ll set out the ways and means in his Autumn Statement in December. Why didn’t he offer this in the first place?

Then, the counterattack: Osborne also said that the government’s defeat by the Lords means a constitutional issue has arisen, and he will address that alongside David Cameron. What he means is: He didn’t have his way, this has got him all upset, so now he wants the people who upset him to be upset too.

Presumably, this is exactly what people mean when they talk about the “politics of the playground”.

He left the threat hanging – no specifics – but already commentators are suggesting that any minor Tories who thought they might get a chance to wear ermine are set for disappointment.

Here’s Osborne’s comment: “Tonight unelected Labour and Liberal lords have defeated a financial matter passed by the elected House of Commons and David Cameron and I are clear that this raises constitutional issues that need to be dealt with.

“However, it has happened and now we must address the consequences of that. I said I would listen and that is precisely what I intend to do. I believe we can achieve the same goal of reforming tax credits, saving the money we need to save to secure our economy, while at the same time helping in the transition. That is what I intend to do at the autumn statement. I’m determined to deliver that lower welfare, higher wage economy that we were elected to deliver and that the British people want to see.”

It’s handy that he raises a point about the election there…

The Conservative Government was elected after David Cameron twice promised – on television – that tax credits would not be cut. While it is certainly true, as Baroness Stowell stated, that social security cuts totalling £12 billion were mooted prior to the election, the Conservative Party was careful never to admit where they planned to wield the axe. No mention was made of tax credit cuts in the Conservative manifesto.

So the Lords rejected a measure the government had no mandate to pursue, about which the Prime Minister had, intentionally and with malice aforethought, deceived the public.

Isn’t it the Conservative Government that has acted unconstitutionally?

Going into it all a bit deeper, Osborne’s claims fall flat. The Lords votes might have been questionable if they had been blocking a manifesto commitment, but they weren’t; if they did not normally block secondary legislation, but they have; or if they were amending a budget measure, but they weren’t. The government could have put tax credits into their Finance Bill but chose not to.

There is, however, reason for the Lords to be ashamed.

All this fuss over a tax credit cut of £1,300 for three million families, and the action that the Lords have taken, serves as another slap in the face to people on long-term sickness or disability benefits who have been subjected to cuts in the amount of benefit they receive, changes to the assessment system in an attempt to claim that they are “malingerers” who are “faking it”, sanctions and unfair decisions that have led to far greater loss of income and even – in more cases than have yet been mentioned – loss of life.

Where was all the outrage when changes to their benefits were passing through the House of Lords?

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Showdown between the Lords and the Tories over tax credits

Baroness Meacher: Her motion that the Lords should “decline to consider” the plan to cut tax credits will be considered “fatal” by the Conservative Government.

Today’s the day the Lords decide whether to defy the Conservative Government and delay – or even kill – plans to cut tax credits and plunge millions of UK families further into poverty.

They will debate no less than five motions on the Tax Credits (Income Thresholds and Determination of Rates)(Amendment) Regulations 2015 – including two declining to consider the statutory instrument, one declining to accept it and one “motion to regret”.

The Conservative Government has said it regards all four as “fatal motions”.

In politics, a fatal motion means only one thing: the death of a proposed new law, pushed off its legislative mortal coil by the votes of MPs and peers in the division lobbies of Parliament.

And that is the fate that some peers are threatening to inflict on the government’s plans to cut more than four billion pounds of tax credits.

The government wants to introduce the cuts not though the traditional route of a Finance Bill but via so-called secondary legislation. This is how most laws are made – technical changes pushed quickly through Parliament within the framework of existing Acts.

Peers will have several possible options.

They could vote to kill the cuts outright by supporting a so-called “fatal motion” tabled by the Lib Dems. This would simply “decline to approve” the government’s plans.

Or they could vote for a motion tabled by the crossbench peer, Lady Meacher. This would delay the tax credit cuts until the government has taken into account an impact analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies “and considered possible mitigating action”.

Or peers could vote for a Labour motion tabled by Lady Hollis. This would delay the cuts while the government introduced transitional measures to protect claimants affected by the changes.

The Tories say that any motion that does not approve the secondary legislation is a fatal motion.

Labour dispute this analysis.

The officials and clerks in the House of Lords… are rather caught in the middle.

They are clear that all the options open to peers on Monday are legitimate from a constitutional point of view. But they equally admit that all the options would have substantial political consequences.

Source: Could ‘fatal’ Lords motion kill tax credit cuts? – BBC News

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Turn again, Tories! Will your policy today be your policy tomorrow?

[Image: Left Futures.]

[Image: Left Futures.]


We all know the answer to that question: It will if it harms people on middle or low incomes, and benefit claimants. The rich will be safe.

So David Cameron’s promise not to cut tax credits was a lie that will harm the hard-working people of the UK, even as the Public Relations Prime Minister works so hard to convince them that they’re better-off under him.

“The Conservatives are the party of the workers” – what utter nonsense!

Meanwhile, George Osborne has U-turned over ‘fiscal responsibility’ laws. Here’s what he had to say about them in 2010:

That was in response to a Labour law that the Conservative-led Coalition government repealed in 2011.

Now he has a ‘fiscal responsibility’ law of his own. What does he have to say about it?

“After all that Britain has been through, it is remarkable that the proposition in this Charter for Budget Responsibility should even be contentious. It states that now the economy is growing we should be reducing our exorbitant debts, and that we should do that each year by reducing the deficit until we eliminate it altogether and run a surplus. Once we have achieved that surplus, in normal times we should continue to raise more than we spend and set aside money for when the rainy days come.”

A child’s economics.

If a government is raising more than it spends, then it is taking money out of the economy; making the economy smaller.

If the economy was growing at a substantial rate – for example, due to the style of investment that Labour is advocating – then it would be possible for a government to achieve this without causing substantial harm. But the economy isn’t doing that. Tory austerity policies have limited the economic recovery since 2010.

Actually, no. Let’s not call them austerity policies any more. Let’s use the term a Vox Political reader rightly chose to describe them: Subjugation.

Subjugation, because the Tories are using their time in office to further enrich the privileged few with tax cuts, taking money from the poor to pay for them.

Subjugation, because the Tories hold themselves unaccountable, refusing to consider any challenges against their policies.

Subjugation, because the Tories intend to use their ‘fiscal charter’ – something George Osborne ridiculed before he took office – to inflict bitter poverty on the hard-working people of the world’s fifth-largest economy.

So let’s learn our lesson – and the lesson is this:

The only Tory promises you can believe are promises made to the rich.

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Duncan Smith’s speech was full of Tory false arguments and hid the homicidal facts

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Tories are very good at making broad statements – claims that many people would support – and then using them to justify unreasonable policies.

Iain Duncan Smith gave a fine example of such behaviour in his speech yesterday.

He said disabled people should not be considered “victims to be sustained by government handouts” – and many people might accept this statement. We should not write anybody off automatically; everybody should take the opportunity to earn their own living, if they can.

What the Gentleman Ranker didn’t say was that his Conservative Party has been removing those opportunities, along with state support – so disabled people are being deprived of their benefits while also being denied any chance of getting a job. Does that seem fair to you? Does that seem reasonable behaviour from an organisation that is trying to re-brand itself as the ‘party of working people’?

Duncan Smith’s speech was riddled with falsehoods or false arguments based on selective observation.

“Almost half of people on ESA have been on the benefit for more than two years – this is despite the majority of ESA claimants saying that they would like to work,” he said – implying that people who say they would like to work must be able to do so. This is a false assumption. It assumes that these people have been wrongly classed as too ill to work, simply because they want to. They’ve been classed as too ill because they are too ill; whether they want to work or not is nothing to do with it.

Let’s also bear in mind that the work capability assessment system for ESA is fatally flawed and attempts to ignore medical evidence as much as possible in order to find as many people ‘fit for work’ as possible and clear them off the benefit books. Iain Duncan Smith ordered changes to the appeal procedure because the skyrocketing number of successful cases was an embarrassment to him and his department.

“The ESA has Labour’s essential mistake at its heart – that people are passive victims,” he babbled – but he did not provide any evidence to prove this. It’s just an unsupported claim.

“Of course if you treat people as passive that’s what they’ll become.” Oh really? What about all the people who’ll take offence at the implication and do the exact opposite?

“It’s no wonder, when the system makes doctors ask a simplistic question: are you too sick to work at all?” This is a flat-out lie, of course. While the benefit’s provision is based on whether a person is found to be ill, the finding is based on a large number of questions that are said to be intended to find out whether the claimant really is too ill to work (although, as already mentioned, the assessment system is fatally flawed). Medical evidence is also said to be taken into account, but this claim – by the Conservative Government – has been proved false.

“Conservative philosophy is rooted in human nature – not in Utopianism or in empty pity but in the yearning of people to make a better life for themselves and their children. That’s why we don’t think of people not in work as victims to be sustained on government handouts. No, we want to help them live lives independent of the state.” There is so much to be questioned here that one hardly knows where to start. Perhaps at the end, where he claims he wants people to live “independent of the state”. This is true – but not in the way he expects us to assume. Iain Duncan Smith wants to cut people off of the benefits they deserve, and leave them to manage in whatever way they can – it won’t be any of his concern.

That is why many thousands of people, cut off from incapacity benefits, have been dying of malnutrition, of their illnesses, or of despair – committing suicide because they cannot see a future for themselves under Tory tyranny.

So perhaps it would be more accurate for him to say: “We think of people not in work as victims to be culled by the deprivation of benefits.”

“The evidence of our reforms is that people respond to incentives. They take opportunities. They adapt to a changing environment.” This is argument by selective observation – a false argument that cherry-picks the ‘hits’ and ignores the ‘misses’. Never mind the thousands of deaths – a few people have been able to get themselves into jobs, for the relatively short period the DWP counts as a success. What is it, now? Six months? And what kind of jobs are they? Zero-hours contracts that don’t pay the rent? No comment on that from the Gentleman Ranker!

“Many people who are sick or disabled want to work. We need to help them find the work they can do.” Again he assumes – evidenceless – that they can work, just because they want to work. Not only is it a false assumption – it is homicidal, for the reasons listed above.

The speech went on to attack the relative poverty measure, starting with the lie that it was a Labour device (it’s actually the standard in most countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) – but, again, there are uncomfortable issues to be considered.

The use of tax credits to push working people above an arbitrary poverty line – as practised by the Blair and Brown governments – is questionable. It’s a stop-gap measure that doesn’t solve the main problem, which is that employers have been paying far too little to working people.

Let’s not hear any quibbling that the money isn’t there – we all know of employers paying themselves hundreds of times as much as employees, and the richest employers in the UK are now twice as wealthy as they were in 2009, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. That comes from taking more than their fair share – nothing more or less.

Is the Conservative Government, of which Iain Duncan Smith is a part, doing anything at all to encourage employers to pay a living wage? No. George Osborne’s re-branded minimum wage is a living wage in name only and will not cover workers’ costs, as we have all see in news coverage about the forthcoming tax credits cut.

So Iain Duncan Smith has attacked Labour for a policy that failed to address somebody else’s poverty measure, while failing to acknowledge that he is planning to make matters worse for millions of working people.

The really appalling aspect of this is that this article is now well over 1,000 words long and has addressed only a fraction of the Work and Pensions Secretary’s speech.

If he is to be congratulated on any part of it, it should be for managing to present a completely false summary of the situation facing the unemployed, sick and disabled – in a way that too many people will accept without question.

Migrant in-work benefit ban is about cutting your money – didn’t you know?

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A would-be migrant waits in Calais for the opportunity to cross into the UK. Would that person really want to come here, in the knowledge that claims about the wealth of the UK economy, along with propaganda about the generosity of our benefit system, are nothing more than myths?

David Cameron has found another excuse to cut benefits for the poorest in the UK.

Apparently, a manifesto promise to reduce the number of immigrants coming to the UK by ensuring they could not claim tax credits or child benefit for four years is illegal under EU law – unless he inflicts the same cut on UK citizens aged 18-22.

Cameron and his ministers must have known about the EU restrictions before including the promise in the Conservative manifesto. The alternative is that he and his government are incompetent, and they’re not about to admit that, are they?

Instead of scrapping the plan, it seems he has instructed ministers to consider how to implement a cut that will force poverty on people who are just starting out in life and need as much help as they can.

The only conclusion is that this is what the Conservative Party wanted all along.

In a document leaked to the BBC, government lawyers have stated: “Imposing additional requirements on EU workers that do not apply to a member state’s own workers constitutes direct discrimination which is prohibited under current EU law.”

It seems that, rather than stop discrimination against one group, Cameron’s preference is to impose it on as many people as possible.

After all, they’re only poor people and he is only a bigot.

You have to laugh at the response of the government’s spokesperson, as quoted in The Guardian: “We’ve already taken action to protect the benefits system and ensure that EU migrants come to this country for the right reasons and to contribute to the economy.

“Now we’re focused on renegotiating our relationship with Europe and getting a better deal for Britons, and we won’t speculate on other options.”

So, what about all those migrants sitting in Calais while they await the chance to slip into the UK unnoticed? Are they coming for the right reasons?

Of course not.

They’re coming because they have believed Conservative rhetoric about the UK economy being the powerhouse of the West (even though it isn’t), along with all the Tory-sponsored media nonsense about the benefit system being over-generous (even though it isn’t).

The migrant situation is a crisis of the Tories’ own making and they are using it to hammer their own fellow citizens. What are you going to do about it?

David Cameron won general election with series of lies? Tell us something we DON’T know!

Yvette Cooper is only half-right. Cameron certainly lied to win the election – but Labour failed to beat him because Labour did not effectively answer those lies.

Labour’s five-year-long failure to deny the claim that it had spent too much while in government is the perhaps the most obvious example.

But Cooper has chosen to highlight promises that were made to the people of the UK, which have been broken in the very short time since.

David Cameron won the general election on the basis of a series of lies, Yvette Cooper said on Thursday, as she highlighted a series of broken promises by the Conservatives.

In a sharpening of her rhetoric against the Tories, the Labour leadership contender accused Cameron of ripping up nine pre-election promises. She said he had changed tack on areas ranging from child tax credits to housing and rail electrification.

Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said: “We may have our own leadership election going on, but Labour can’t allow David Cameron to get away with this and carry on like nothing has happened – he is taking the British public for fools. We have to confront him directly on every lie and broken promise – that’s exactly what I plan to do in parliament and across the country.

The nine areas identified by Cooper are:

  • Cuts in child tax credits. Cooper said Cameron denied during the election that he would cut child tax credits. She said Osborne, the chancellor, unveiled £4.5bn of cuts to child tax credits in the budget which would hit women twice as hard as men.
  • Cuts to child benefit after Cameron said during the election there would be no cuts beyond a two-year freeze. Cooper says it will now be subject to a four-year freeze.
  • Cancellation of rail electrification plans.
  • Downgrading of the number of affordable homes due to be built. The Office for Budget Responsibility has said 14,000 fewer homes will be built.
  • Delaying of a decision on a new airport runway in south-east England. Downing Street says it is standing by its commitment to reach a decision by the end of this year.
  • Delay in the introduction of tax-free childcare from 2015 to 2017.
  • Shelving of an election pledge to give public officials three days off work to take part in volunteering.
  • Delay until 2020 in the introduction of the social care cap.
  • Reversal of pledge for greater government transparency after launch of review into freedom of information.

Source: David Cameron won general election with series of lies, says Yvette Cooper | Politics | The Guardian

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These are the Labour MPs who ran away when their constituents needed them

MPs debate the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, July 20, 2015.

MPs debate the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, July 20, 2015.

This is a roll call of shame.

The Conservative Party has launched yet another attack on the poor, the disabled and the disadvantaged in the UK and – rather than stand up for those people – all but 48 members of the Parliamentary Labour Party just stood aside and let it happen.

Apologists for these so-called representatives say there will be time to oppose particular measures in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill during the Committee Stage, but they conveniently forget that it is easier to push objections through if one has not already stood aside to let the legislation reach that stage. In short: Nobody will take these objections seriously.

Here is the list of Labour MPs who betrayed their constituents:

Heidi Alexander
Rushanara Ali
Graham Allen
Jon Ashworth
Ian Austin
Adrian Bailey
Kevin Barron
Margaret Beckett
Hilary Benn
Luciana Berger
Clive Betts
Roberta Blackman-Woods
Tom Blenkinsop
Paul Blomfield
Ben Bradshaw
Kevin Brennan
Lyn Brown
Nick Brown
Chris Bryant
Karen Buck
Richard Burden
Andy Burnham
Liam Byrne
Ruth Cadbury
Alan Campbell
Ronnie Campbell
Sarah Champion
Jenny Chapman
Vernon Coaker
Ann Coffey
Julie Cooper
Rosie Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Jo Cox
Neil Coyle
David Crausby
Mary Creagh
Stella Creasy
Jon Cruddas
John Cryer
Judith Cummins
Alex Cunningham
Jim Cunningham
Nicholas Dakin
Simon Danczuk
Wayne David
Gloria De Piero
Stephen Doughty
Jim Dowd
Jack Dromey
Michael Dugher
Angela Eagle
Maria Eagle
Clive Efford
Julie Elliott
Louise Ellman
Bill Esterson
Chris Evans
Paul Farrelly
Frank Field
Jim Fitzpatrick
Rob Flello
Colleen Fletcher
Caroline Flint
Yvonne Fovargue
Vicky Foxcroft
Mike Gapes
Barry Gardiner
Pat Glass
Kate Green
Lilian Greenwood
Nia Griffith
Andrew Gwynne
David Hanson
Harriet Harman
Harry Harpham
Helen Hayes
John Healey
Mark Hendrick
Stephen Hepburn
Meg Hillier
Margaret Hodge
Sharon Hodgson
Kate Hoey
Kate Hollern
George Howarth
Tristram Hunt
Rupa Huq
Huw Irranca-Davies
Dan Jarvis
Alan Johnson
Diana R Johnson
Graham Jones
Kevan Jones
Susan Elan Jones
Mike Kane
Barbara Keeley
Liz Kendall
Stephen Kinnock
Peter Kyle
Chris Leslie
Emma Lewell-Buck
Ivan Lewis
Ian Lucas
Holly Lynch
Fiona Mactaggart
Justin Madders
Khalid Mahmood
Shabana Mahmood
Seema Malhotra
John Mann
Gordon Marsden
Chris Matheson
Steve McCabe
Kerry McCarthy
Siobhain McDonagh
Pat McFadden
Conor McGinn
Alison McGovern
Catherin McKinnell
Alan Meale
Ed Miliband
Jessica Morden
Ian Murray
Melanie Onn
Chi Onwurah
Albert Owen
Matthew Pennycook
Toby Perkins
Jess Phillips
Bridget Phillipson
Steve Pound
Lucy Powell
Yasmin Qureshi
Angela Rayner
Jamie Reed
Steve Reed
Rachel Reeves
Emma Reynolds
Jonathan Reynolds
Geoffrey Robinson
Steve Rotheram
Joan Ryan
Naseem Shah
Virendra Sharma
Barry Sheerman
Gavin Shuker
Andrew Slaughter
Ruth Smeeth
Andrew Smith
Angela Smith
Jeff Smith
Nick Smith
Owen Smith
Karin Smyth
John Spellar
Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting
Gisela Stuart
Mark Tami
Gareth Thomas
Nick Thomas-Symonds
Emily Thornberry
Stephen Timms
Jon Trickett
Anna Turley
Karl Turner
Derek Twigg
Stephen Twigg
Chuka Umunna
Keith Vaz
Valeria Vaz
Tom Watson
Catherine West
Alan Whitehead
Phil Wilson
Rosie Winterton
John Woodcock

(Thangam Debbonaire also abstained, but this was because she has been diagnosed with cancer and was in Bristol having chemotherapy. She was ‘paired’ with a government MP so her absence did not affect the outcome of the vote.)

(Natascha Engel and Lindsay Hoyle could not vote because they are Deputy Speakers and are automatically paired with government MPs.)

(Fabian Hamilton was, we’re told, recovering from surgery. Otherwise, according to a commenter, he would have voted against the Bill.)

(Lisa Nandy was on maternity leave.)

(Christina Rees was abroad on an all-party working group, according to a commenter to the blog.)

If your Labour MP is among the above, then This Writer encourages you to contact them and request an explanation for this betrayal. You may also ask them to explain why they think they should be trusted to fulfil the role expected of them in Parliament, which is to oppose the Conservative Government’s destruction of the Welfare State and the fabric of British society. You may even wish to request their resignation (although this is only likely to succeed if enough people in the same constituency make the same demand together).

The cowardly rejection of responsibility by the above-named Labour MPs has already earned the contempt of many very well-known figures in the Left of politics.

Harry Smith, the 92-year-old who spoke movingly in support of the NHS at last year’s Labour Conference, tweeted: “To abstain against austerity is to accept austerity.”

He added: “During days of Thatcher Labour fought her tooth & nail & stood up for the vulnerable but today we washed our hands of them.”

Owen Jones, the 30-year-old Leftie columnist, tweeted: “Abstaining on the Welfare Bill means saying you are on the fence about driving the kids of low-paid workers further into hardship.”

You can have this, from Green MP Caroline Lucas: “Labour frontbench defends indefensible & accepts principle of arbitrary benefit cap – how much extra child poverty are they relaxed about?”

Even Abby Tomlinson, the teenage creator of ‘Milifandom’, had to speak up against the abstention of her idol: “Really worries me that MPs would compromise their principles just to toe party line. If they think the bill is morally wrong – oppose it.”

Fortunately for the future of the Labour movement, there were some who were prepared to stand up, not only against the vile Conservative legislation but also against the wrong-headed complicity of their own party leadership – 48 of them.

Leading the rebellion was Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn. He made his views clear in a statement: “We introduced tax credits to fill the gap between wages and the cost of living. Osborne’s proposals do nothing to close that gap, while taking away the vital lifeline that tax credits have provided.

“Research by Savills shows that the lower benefit cap would make all of London and most of southern England uninhabitable for families – based on three-bed properties at market rent.

“Disabled people were hardest hit by welfare cuts in the last Parliament. Reducing ESA rates to JSA levels will send more disabled people into poverty at a time when poverty in disabled households has hit record highs.

“Freezing working-age benefits for four years will mean more homelessness, more people using food banks, more child poverty and more misery. This Bill is the unspeakable attacking the vulnerable. It is indefensible.”

In contrast, Twitter user David George King told another leadership candidate, Andy Burnham: “You’ve a bloody cheek claiming you think this tax credit cut is wrong then abstaining – total copout.” Burnham, like fellow leadership candidates Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall, abstained and let the Tory Bill proceed.

Debbie Abrahams, who has done such sterling work keeping my Freedom of Information request on benefit-related deaths in the public eye, said, “This is a wicked Bill.”

And John McDonnell made his own feelings even more plain: “I would swim through vomit to vote against this Bill.”

What a shame so few of their fellow MPs were prepared to take a principled stand. Labour desperately needs a leader who will purge the party of its dead weight – and only one candidate had the courage to stand against the tide this week.

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall need to discover that they can’t expect the support of the people if they are happy to stab the people in the back.

If nothing else, this vote has shown that Jeremy Corbyn is clearly the man who should be leading Labour out of the dark.

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Voting with the Tories on ‘welfare’ will end any credibility Labour has left

George Osborne is a liar, from a party of liars - one only has to consider the UK's secret bombing of Syria - after Parliament voted against it - to see the truth in that.

George Osborne is a liar, from a party of liars – one only has to consider the UK’s secret bombing of Syria – after Parliament voted against it – to see the truth in that.

What an amazing piece in The Guardian about George Osborne’s call for “progressive” Labour MPs to support his entirely regressive changes to social security (the only people who call it “welfare” are Tories)!

Will people believe this pack of lies?

The article starts by saying he has urged “progressive” MPs in the Labour party to back his cuts in a major Commons vote today (Monday) on the Tories’ Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

He wants Labour MPs – but more importantly, the electorate, to think that the plan to cut child tax credits (among other measures) is what the public wants, and also builds on “mainstream Labour thinking”.

This is moonshine.

Labour believes that the profits of all our work should be shared out to ensure a decent standard of living for everybody, including those who cannot work but contribute to society in other ways. For example, if you have children, then you get child tax credits because their contribution to society has yet to be made.

Removing the tax credits and lowering the standard of living – as the Conservative chancellor’s plans would do to many people – is therefore the opposite of “mainstream Labour thinking”.

Osborne also calls on Labour to “stop blaming the public for its defeat”. This is typical Tory gaslighting. As a party, Labour has not blamed the public. The prevailing mood in the party is that Labour needs to draw the correct conclusions from the election result and create policies that acknowledge what the public wants, while fitting Labour values.

That’s real Labour values – not George Osborne’s fantasy.

You can tell that Labour isn’t doing as Osborne claims. Nowhere in the Guardian article is any factual evidence provided to show Labour has blamed the electorate for its defeat. Harriet Harman is paraphrased as having said the party needed to recognise that the electorate had sent Labour a message – which is quite the opposite.

Osborne also fails to support his claim that the majority of the electorate support his cuts. The majority of the electorate voted against the Conservative Party on May 7, with the Tories managing to gain only a 24.3 per cent share of the possible vote and a tiny 12-seat advantage in Parliament. That does not indicate majority support for the cuts programme.

The article states: “Osborne sprung a surprise in the budget by proposing cuts to the level of tax credits, but balanced these in part by a rise in the minimum wage to more than £9 an hour by 2020 for those over 25.” Notice that the tax credit cut is immediate, but the minimum wage will only rise to more than £9 per hour in five years’ time. How are people supposed to survive in the years between?

Also, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the cut in tax credits, along with the other cuts that ‘Slasher’ Osborne wants to make, will remove £12 billion from the economy – but the minimum wage rise – when it finally happens – will only add £4 billion.

So the Conservatives want Labour to support an £8 billion cut in living standards for the people who can least accommodate it.

Osborne’s argument that the responsibility for ensuring decent living standards should be rebalanced, from the state handing out subsidies towards employers providing decent wages, falls because he has no intention of making employers pay decent wages.

Osborne also writes: “Three in four people – and a majority of Labour voters – think that Britain spends too much on welfare.”

Are these the same people who think 41 per cent of the entire social security budget goes on unemployment benefits, when the actual proportion is just three per cent?

Are these the same people who think 27 per cent of the entire social security budget is claimed fraudulently, when the actual proportion is just 0.7 per cent?

Are these the people who believe George Osborne’s lies, and the lies of the Conservative Government?

In case anybody is wondering, the figures quoted above are from a TUC poll that was carried out a couple of years ago. It seems that, with the help of compliant media (such as The Guardian?) the Conservatives have succeeded in continuing to mislead the general public.

Osborne continued: “For our social contract to work, we need to retain the consent of the taxpayer, not just the welfare recipient.”

People receiving social security payments are also taxpayers; indirect taxation accounts for around three-quarters of the taxes received by the UK Treasury from the 20 per cent of people in the lowest income group.

The lies keep coming: “For those that can work, I believe it is better to earn a higher income from your work than receive a higher income from welfare.” If this was true, then he would have forced the minimum wage up to a point at which people would no longer need to claim tax credits in order to receive the same amount. He didn’t; he lied.

Osborne goes on to praise interim Labour leader Harriet Harman for capitulating to the Conservatives over child tax credits. There is only one reason he would do this – to undermine support for the Labour Party by suggesting that it really is ‘Tory-Lite’. Shame on Ms Harman for allowing this to happen!

His claim, “She recognised that oppositions only advance when they … recognise that some of the arguments made by political opponents should be listened to,” would be reasonable if the argument for cutting tax credits was sound, but it isn’t – people will be worse-off in this instance. If people were to become better-off afterwards, he might have a point. As it is, it is drivel.

His very next point confirms this: “A previous Conservative opposition realised [this] 15 years ago when it accepted the case for a minimum wage.” The Conservative Party only accepted this case in 2008, under David Cameron – a Tory leader who, when campaigning unsuccessfully for the Stafford constituency seat in 1996, had said it would “send unemployment straight back up” (The Chronicle (Stafford), February 21 1996). Even now, many Tory supporters despise the minimum wage.

Osborne ended with an appeal for “moderate” Labour MPs to vote with his party.

That would be the end of any credibility Labour has remaining, as a party of Opposition.

According to The Guardian, Osborne said: “The proposals are part of a common endeavour by Labour and the Conservatives to implement difficult welfare reforms.” Again, he is trying to make the public think Labour and the Tories are the same. Labour MPs would have to be complete idiots to help him.

Some of the complete idiots in Labour who have already helped him are, according to Osborne, “New Labour work and pensions secretaries such as John Hutton, David Blunkett and James Purnell [who] all tried to reform the welfare system… Alistair Darling [who] says tax credits are ‘subsidising lower wages in a way that was never intended’ [and] Frank Field… [who] agrees the system as it stands is simply ‘not sustainable’ and the budget represents a ‘game-changer’.”

Wouldn’t social security be a little more sustainable if George Osborne spent less time obsessing about wringing more money from those who can least afford to lose it, and more time getting his extremely rich corporate friend to pay up more of the £120 billion a year they are believed to owe in unpaid taxes?

Why isn’t Labour making this point, whenever Tories like Osborne start bleating that anything is “unsustainable”?

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