Tag Archives: eviction

Tory u-turn over eviction ban – but is it really the reprieve renters needed?

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Faced with a widespread campaign, supported by the media, the Tories have done what they always do – and u-turned on the plan to restore tenant evictions.

Landlords would have been able to evict tenants from August 24 – for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed in March.

But now the Tories have extended the ban… for just one month.

Why so short a period? And what’s going on with all the conditions and caveats they’ve applied?

Apparently, after the ban ends, landlords won’t be able to evict anybody for a further six months – until March 2021 – because they’ll only be able to issue notice of evictions from the new date the ban ends (September 20).

So when is the ban actually ending? September 2020 or March 2021?

And Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said possession cases brought by landlords will be heard again “when the courts reopen” – after the summer vacation? After lockdown restrictions are lifted? Where’s the clarity.

It is fair enough that what Jenrick calls “the most egregious cases, for example those involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse perpetrators” be handled as soon as possible.

But I wonder exactly what will be done for renters who are falling behind on their payments during the four week delay that couldn’t be done during the previous six months.

People need protection from losing their homes; they are more vulnerable to it now than at any time since This Writer was born.

But most of that vulnerability has been created by Conservative politics.

So what are the Tories going to do? And why haven’t they done it already?

Source: Eviction ban extended for another month in last-minute government u-turn – Mirror Online

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Child homelessness numbers when Covid-19 hit the UK shame us all. What will they be by Christmas?

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Stop evictions: this is a years-old image – still relevant today because of cruel Tory policies that push poor people onto the streets.

How did the fifth-richest nation on the planet manage to allow nearly 130,000 children to be homeless when a killer virus swept over the country?

The statistic should be a source of national shame, even though I’m not convinced by the Mirror‘s claim that it is the worst level of child homelessness in 14 years.

This Site reported in December 2018 that 131,000 children were set to be living in bed and breakfast accommodation that Christmas.

But I think a worse figure is yet to come.

Earlier this week, This Site commented on claims that reports of people living on the streets have rocketed since the Covid lockdown was enforced in March.

Children weren’t mentioned specifically but you can be sure that they were among those who had been turfed out into the gutter.

And how many children will be forced out of the protection of their home when the moratorium on evictions ends on Sunday (August 23) and landlords are again able to throw tenants out for no reason at all?

This Site has a tradition that I try to continue every year: in December I report the number of children set to be homeless at Christmas.

Every year since I started – back in 2012, if I recall correctly – that number has increased by tens of thousands.

I shudder to think what it will be by Christmas 2020.

Source: Homeless children hit 14-year high as 130,000 stuck in B&Bs and temporary shelter – Mirror Online

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Tory ministers silent as they’re urged to prevent ‘wave of evictions’

Homeless: this man was photographed living on the streets in Birmingham before Covid-19. Who knows how many more will be living there – prey to the virus – after August 23?

The government’s moratorium on evictions ends this week, putting tens of thousands of people in danger of eviction – in the middle of the biggest recession the UK has ever experienced.

The Tories have been urged to safeguard the people under threat – but they are strangely silent. One wonders whether they would be so quiet if their fellow Conservatives were being turfed out of their stately homes for any reason.

So when the ban on evictions in England and Wales ends on August 23, it seems likely to signal a wave of homelessness, with people forced onto the streets to face joblessness (as a result of the Tory recession), illness (because of the Tory failure to fight Covid-19) and the cold (because winter is coming).

Landlords in England have been able to issue notices of eviction three months in advance of taking possession; in Wales, the Labour government has ordered that they cannot take possession before six months have elapsed.

No reason need be given for them to take possession. Boris Johnson has promised to end “no-fault” evictions in a new “Renter’s Reform Bill” – but he has shown no inclination to bring such legislation to Parliament.

Previous prime minister Theresa May had made the same promise, but she never brought such a Bill to Parliament either.

And there really are a lot of private landlords stuffing the Tory benches in the House of Commons.

Of  course, evictions and homelessness will have a knock-on effect on the economy – at a time of recession – as it costs the government and the emergency services more to help homeless people than it does to keep them housed.

The Tories know this because they’ve seen the same evidence I have.

And yet they are silent.

It seems they are more keen to inflict cruelty on others than to do their job – which is to run the country efficiently. Wasn’t that always the way with the toffs?

Source: Ministers have just seven days to prevent a ‘wave of evictions’, MPs and charities warn | The Independent

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Theresa May announces watered-down Labour policy on unfair evictions. Hers won’t be

Congratulations to Theresa May for announcing a new Conservative policy! It’s just a shame she stole it from Labour and watered it down.

Here’s her announcement as it appeared on Twitter:

The press release states: “Private landlords will no longer be able to evict tenants from their homes at short notice and without good reason, in the biggest change to the private rental sector for a generation, Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has announced (15 April 2019).

“As part of a complete overhaul of the sector, the government has outlined plans to consult on new legislation to abolish Section 21 evictions – so called ‘no-fault’ evictions. This will bring an end to private landlords uprooting tenants from their homes with as little as 8 weeks’ notice after the fixed-term contract has come to an end.

“This will effectively create open-ended tenancies, bringing greater peace of mind to millions of families who live in rented accommodation.”

It won’t, though. Landlords will simply put up the rents on tenants they don’t want, and price them out of their homes. This is a pretence at taking action that won’t actually change anything at all.

This is a Labour policy that the Conservatives have watered down and put out in the pretence that they are “on your side” (as Mrs May herself protested in a poor performance on TV recently).

Consider this BBC news story from September 2018 – nearly seven months ago:

“Labour says it would scrap laws allowing private landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason.

“The law, in force since 1988, is thought to be the biggest cause of homelessness.

“Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey announced the policy at the party’s conference in Liverpool.

“Mr Healey also unveiled plans for a £20m fund to set up “renters’ unions” to support tenants in disputes with landlords.

“So-called “no-fault” evictions – when landlords throw people out of their home without saying why – have been growing in recent years.

“The party’s policies include:

  • A new levy on second homes that are used as holiday homes
  • Reversing cuts to legal aid for housing related cases
  • Introducing three-year tenancies
  • Banning letting agent fees
  • New minimum legal standards to ensure homes are “fit for human habitation”
  • Giving cities the power to introduce rent controls”

I seem to recall the Conservatives having prevented moves to stop so-called “revenge” evictions in recent years, and also preventing a law to ensure homes are fit for human habitation. The Tory benches in the House of Commons are full of private landlords.

Shadow housing minister John Healey was remarkably restrained in his response to Mrs May’s announcement. He restricted himself to pointing out the faults in the watered-down policy she is offering:

“Any promise of new help for renters is good news but this latest pledge won’t work if landlords can still force tenants out by hiking the rent.

“For nine years, the Tories have failed to tackle problems facing private renters. Tenants need new rights and protections across the board to end costly rent increases and sub-standard homes as well as to stop unfair evictions.

“Labour is committed to giving renters the rights they deserve, including control on rents, indefinite tenancies and new legal minimum standards.”

Other commentators have been less kind.

I myself, for example, called it: “Another watered-down Labour policy. Time to give up and go.”

Rachael Swindon put her finger on the problem: “You’ve not thought this out (shock). The landlords will just put the rent up, forcing more homelessness, and more dependency on the state. Who actually comes up with these ideas? Honestly, you’re utterly useless.”

Paul Wingrove made a pertinent point: “Would be better if you acted to deliver all the social housing you have been promising for bloody years!”

And Jamie Aspin put into words what we are all thinking: “We could do with an eviction or two on Downing Street!”

Strangely enough, it seems Mrs May could actually be thinking the same thing.

Writer/actor David Schneider responded: “Brace yourselves. General election incoming…”


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Kwarteng dismisses concerns about Tory benefits policies – and Marr lets him off the hook (Part Two of Three)

Soundbite: Kwasi Kwarteng.

The second act of the three-part farce acted out on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (November 18) started when a panel including Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng was asked to discuss the possible eviction of vCJD sufferer Emily Lydon (read her story here).

As the story was breaking only days after the UN special rapporteur on poverty, Professor Philip Alston, had warned that the hardship suffered by the most vulnerable people in the UK had been deliberately inflicted on them by the Tories, to achieve “radical social re-engineering”, Mr Kwarteng would have been well-advised to take a diplomatic approach.

He did not.

Here’s what he said:

Notice he said he did not know “who this UN man is” – confirmation that the Tories are determined to ignore Professor Alston’s findings.

People in the real world condemned Mr Kwarteng’s words and pilloried their speaker.

For example, Loula Abdulla tweeted: “There’s obviously something very wrong with this man. I think he’s a sociopath, there’s no other possible explanation for such an ignorant brushing aside of that example of Tory injustice.”

And this is from Barbara Keeley: “Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng response on this case is disgraceful. No compassion or empathy. Says it all about the Tories.”

Critically, the show’s anchor, Andrew Marr, was soft on Mr Kwarteng to the point of liquidity. His only contribution was to ask if Mr Kwarteng thought the UN report was “appropriate” – to which he received the obvious answer from a Tory.

Here‘s Andy Searson on that: “Look how easily Marr allows the Tory off the hook when faced with the reality of their policies on ordinary people.”

And former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams hit the nail squarely on the head.

So, despite the revelation of an atrocity that is being committed by the Tory government against UK citizens who are powerless to prevent it, one of our most prominent press representatives failed to hold a member of that government to account. He was to prove hypocritically less compliant when interviewing a member of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, unfortunately…

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Evidence of Tory benefit brutality is stacking up – but Theresa May doesn’t want to know

This is the only response Theresa May is likely to give people who are struggling with her cruel and misnamed Universal Credit fiasco,

People are queueing up to tell the public – and the minority Tory government – about the havoc its so-called “welfare reforms” – including Universal Credit – are causing among poor and working-class people: The hardship, the despair, and the deaths.

Weakling prime minister Theresa May doesn’t want to listen. She’s hoping it will go away if she ignores it.

It won’t go away. In fact, let’s all do our best to confront her with these stories, every day.

Here’s ‘James L Johnson’ (not this person’s real name) in The Independent:

I see so much suffering on a daily basis. Case managers like me are well-trained to deal with any claimants threatening suicide, either by phone or by journal message, simply because it’s such a frequent occurrence (and recurrence).

It is often that we have to tell claimants the state cannot support them further at all – even if they have weeks till their next payment and have young children to feed.

Being a case manager means that turning away those in abject poverty is a part of the job. Those who have worked in universal credit since the early days have become hardened, having dealt with thousands of vulnerable people.

Claimants who state that they are facing eviction are a penny a dozen. We are told that legal proceedings can take months so a claimant is “never really facing eviction”.

That’s how we’re told to justify it.

But Neil Couling, the civil servant in charge of delivering Universal Credit (his title appears to be ‘Director General’), seems to have accused his employee of exaggeration in this tweeted response to the economist Jonathan Portes:

His comment may have carried more weight if others hadn’t added their own two-pennorth:

And Mr Portes wasn’t exactly supportive in his own response:

The official comment from the DWP did nothing to help matters. It states: “Our frontline staff offer invaluable support to people facing difficult circumstances. Their job is not always easy, which is why we provide comprehensive training and care for their wellbeing – and our universal credit employees are positive about the support they receive.

“The majority of people are satisfied with their universal credit claim and are comfortable managing their money, but there is extra support for people who need it. Advance payments, more frequent payments, and budgeting support is available.”

Good manners prevent This Writer from providing an opinion on those words, which seem intended directly to contradict ‘James L Johnson’.

Inverness MP Drew Hendry has invited Theresa May to hear claimants’ accounts of Universal Credit at a ‘summit’ on November 3.

As an appetiser (if that’s the right word), he provided the following stories in his letter to the minority prime minister:

“Abbey had payments stopped when she went on maternity leave. It took our office – having to pass details of law from House of Commons library – to get the DWP to accept their error. Over £2,000 in rent arrears, four months to fix, surviving on food vouchers.

“Leanne has cancer. This single mum of two – waited 6 long weeks for payment, when it came, it was over £500 short, including £300 for an ESA overpayment that she was never paid in the first place. Shamefully, the DWP then demanded she attended a Work Capability Assessment – against the advice of her furious GP.

“Rachael was expecting a baby yet she went all through Christmas and on to April without payment. £1,500 of housing arrears and close to being evicted. The DWP said they had a problem with her national insurance number. Against medical advice, your department wanted this pregnant woman, with no money, to travel 200miles from Inverness to Aberdeen and back to sort out your mistakes.”

For Mrs May, then, it is a choice between staying at home and relying on the assurances of people who are paid to tell her everything is fine – and attending a meeting where she may hear countless accounts of trauma, agony and torment caused by the same people.

Do YOU think she’ll go?


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Everyone should understand: The Tories will continue pushing their flawed Universal Credit BECAUSE it harms the poor

Gurtac Swali, a single dad who says Universal Credit has sent him into arrears and made him ill [Image: Manchester Evening News].

Charlotte Hughes’ true stories of the effect of Universal Credit can be read on her website, The Poor Side of Life. It makes grim reading but should leave nobody with any illusions.

We all know the arguments about UC. The so-called “benefit” has been plagued with problems ever since it was first announced – and has plagued the vulnerable as a result.

But a succession of Tory Work and Pensions secretaries have refused to address those problems in any meaningful way. Iain Duncan Smith, Stephen Crabb, Damian Green and now David Gauke have all promised to tinker around the edges without tackling the fundamental flaws that are built into the system as they have devised it.

They have devised it to push people towards suicide.

The reason is clear: If a person takes their own life, the Conservatives can claim it is nothing to do with them – the standard comment is that “there are many contributing factors towards suicide” – and revel in the benefit saving from the demise of another “useless eater”.

The simple fact is that Universal Credit will never help anybody while it is being administered by a Conservative government.

That is why the best way forward is a pause – until a Labour government can take over and consider the situation.

This Writer does not agree with Labour that UC can be saved. I think the concept is fundamentally flawed because it is demonstrably possible for a punitive government like that of the Tories to use it as a punishment for being poor, rather than an aid towards prosperity. Labour needs to accept this.

While campaigners should certainly continue making their case to the current government, I think it is also time they put forward a persuasive argument to the next one.

Evictions, homelessness, debt and even suicide will all rise if the government’s ‘chaotic’ Universal Credit roll-out continues, ministers have been warned.

In Greater Manchester, critics have said the system could devastate lives in the area.

In a dire message to Whitehall, public sector bosses, advice services and a string of MPs have all demanded an immediate halt to the policy in their area – insisting it will send some of the country’s poorest people into a downward spiral.

Charities have dubbed it a ‘universal catastrophe’, while claimants say it has made them sick with stress.

Experts have repeatedly highlighted a catalogue of problems with the system, including a minimum six-week wait for payments to be processed, which has pushed thousands of people into arrears or debt – as well as a confusing online application system, lost documentation and repeated administrative errors.

Campaigners have also staged ongoing protests outside Ashton[-under-Lyne]’s JobCentre for the last four years, warning Universal Credit claimants are being forced to rely on food parcels – and are three times more likely to face sanctions than those on Jobseekers’ Allowance.

Campaign leader Charlotte Hughes, who has been compiling a dossier of horror stories on the benefit, said: “Universal Credit is hell on earth.”

Source: ‘Chaotic’ roll out of Universal Credit benefit scheme will ’cause evictions, homelessness, spiralling debt and even suicide’


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‘Sanctions, starvation and evictions are not entertainment. People are dying’

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Are you as utterly sick of televised ‘poverty porn’ as you should be?

Night after night, main offenders Channel 4, Channel 5 – and even the BBC – flood their schedules with nonsense films designed to misinform the public about the lives of the deprived and enlist your collusion in their demonization and destruction.

It’s time somebody put a stop to it, and the United Disability Resistance Movement (UDRM) wants your help to achieve this.

“Some of us have recently been looking at asking our members to write a … letter to the individual members of OFCOM about the media portrayal of benefits ‘scroungers’,” wrote a UDRM representative in a message to This Blog yesterday.

“We think all should unite, able and disabled against the media rhetoric and narrative.

“At UDRM we are convinced that, if all protest groups worked together, we would stand a much better chance of changing things because we all want the same thing in the end. We believe there’s strength in numbers and we are already working with some other groups under the banner of ‘Unite and Fight’.”

The group is asking for anyone who agrees that ‘poverty porn’ should be stopped to send a copy of the following letter to one, many or all of the Ofcom members listed below, indicating their support for the points it makes, in a short campaign over two days between Saturday and Sunday (August 8-9).

It’s up to you.

Here’s the letter. Please consider joining this campaign.

Dear [insert name],

I am writing to complain about the number of programmes on mainstream British television and radio and in British print media at the moment which vilify, target and demonise people who are claiming welfare benefits.

People are being mocked and their struggles are being seen as entertainment when, in fact, it is day-to-day existence for many and not a fictitious variation of shows such as ‘Big Brother’. Sanctions, starvation and evictions are not ‘amusing’ or a joke, they are a reality for many and are horrifying in their brutality. People have died.

Programmes such as ‘Benefits Street’ and ‘Benefits Britain, Life on the Dole’ perpetuate the myth that claiming welfare benefits is a lifestyle choice. Vitriolic articles by so-called commentators such as Katie Hopkins incite hatred. Benefit claimants, migrants and job seekers are being portrayed as scroungers who have chosen a lifestyle of inactivity and modern-day begging. This is not the case. People claim benefits because there is nothing else they can do. People claim benefits because they were born disabled or have become sick later in life. People claim benefits because they have lost their jobs and have been unable to secure a new role. People claim benefits because employers are paying minimum, starvation wages and they cannot afford to feed and clothe their families. People claim benefits because they need help. People claim benefits because they have no choice. This is not entertainment, this is disgusting, this is frightening; this is tragedy.

Further to this, ‘Poverty Porn’ has alarming knock-on effects on the way people who have no choice but to claim benefits to survive are viewed. The result of this misinformation is the alarming increase in hate crime against those who are claiming benefits. Spying on friends and neighbours is encouraged. covert filming and recording is rife. According to the Crown Prosecution Service in 2014 there was a 213 percent increase in the number of prosecutions for hate crime against disabled people. In 2011 the report, ‘Ready Willing and Able’ highlighted the fact that 38 percent of the general public perceived disabled people to be a burden on society. On 24 April 2015 the UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein compared British print media’s attitude to migrants to propaganda in 1930s Nazi Germany.

The TUC has stated that “The government’s austerity programme is reshaping the welfare State through cuts in benefits and the privatisation of public services, including health, education and drastically reduced state support. The impact of benefits cuts and of the associated campaign of demonisation of disabled people, the unemployed, migrants, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups has been catastrophic. Crimes motivated by hate have wider and deeper roots, but austerity has made the problems worse.” This is not healthy. This is frightening. This can only lead to the further disintegration of our society.

I am asking OFCOM to look into this trend in the British media to publicise non-stop ‘poverty porn’ in print, on the radio and on television. I am asking OFCOM to do the right thing. I am asking OFCOM to have the courage to say ‘No More’. The public should be shown the true stories of the struggling majority, not the glamorisation of the extreme minority. Over many years the British press has been lauded for its fairness and unbiased reporting. Please do not allow this to change.

Yours sincerely,

[insert your name]

Here is the list of possible recipients:

[email protected], Mehmuda Mian, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

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Two die amid threats of losing benefits and eviction

The late Julia Kelly

The late Julia Kelly

Conservative-led Coalition Government welfare policy has led to two more deaths, it has been revealed.

One concerns a man suffering from depression who was living in fear of eviction after his benefits were stopped (no reason was given in the news report), and the other involves a woman whose suicide was allegedly triggered by a DWP letter demanding repayment of £4,000 in disability benefit.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported that the body of 34-year-old father-of-three Benjamin Del McDonald, who suffered with depression, was found last November.

East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor said: “Something must have happened to make him behave the way he did, because He had so much more to live for, especially his relationship with his daughter.

“At the time, his money had been stopped, he had no form of income, and he said he was threatened with eviction from his home – all matters that can play one someone’s mind very much.

“The appropriate conclusion for me today is that while he was suffering from a significant bout of depression, he took his own life.”

The full report is in the Lancashire Telegraph.

In Northampton, 39-year-old Julia Kelly was found to have taken her own life, days after receiving a series of letters from the Department for Work and Pensions including one demanding that she repay £4,000 in Employment and Support Allowance payments.

She had faced three tribunals in a bid to keep her benefit, and her family “firmly believed” the stress caused by the DWP over her claim was what “triggered” her suicide.

A statement by her father, David Kelly, said: “We firmly believe the letter from the DWP was the trigger for her actions. Not to be believed by the DWP that she was suffering chronic back pain and also to be accused of wrongdoing and be told her payments might be stopped – we believe she snapped and could not take it anymore.”

Mr Kelly said his daughter had been forced to “fight for every penny” of disability benefit including attending three tribunal cases.

The DWP had claimed that Ms Kelly was not entitled to claim ESA as she had failed to declare capital funds.

Together with her father, she had set up a charity called Away With Pain, to help fellow sufferers of chronic back pain.

The Northampton Chronicle report states: “Ms Kelly, who previously worked for Northamptonshire Young Carers, had to give up work in 2010 due to a severe back injury that had grown progressively worse since a car crash, which wasn’t her fault, in 2005.

“In 2013, Ms Kelly was involved in another car crash which fractured the part of her spine that had been fused together. To repair this damge she needed a major operation lasting six hours.

“Talking to the Chron last February Ms Kelly said: ‘One person said “until it happens to you, you have no idea what is involved”. It stops your life in its tracks and that is it. Pain management is probably the most under-funded area of the NHS and yet this is something that doesn’t go away. People do get suicidal.

“’You actually go through the bereavement process; not losing a person but you have lost the old you. Your morals and everything are the same, but that girl who used to jump in her car or who was the wildest on the dance floor, that has all changed. You have to get your head around that and be realistic about your expectations.

“’In my head I was going to get better, then when it didn’t happen, it was like ‘oh God, now what happens?’ Some people don’t get to that mind-set, through no fault of their own, so many people fall through the net.'”

The full report is on the Northampton Chronicle.

A general election is approaching. If a Conservative-led government gains office again, ask yourself how many more people will die prematurely?

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Why Labour SHOULD be ‘the party of welfare’

[Image: Redpepper]

[Image: Redpepper]

What follows is intelligent, adroit and not mine. It was written by Bernadette Meaden on the Ekklesia website and passed on to me by a mutual friend.

It constitutes what I think may be a complete answer and refutation of ‘accusations’ that the Labour Party is the so-called ‘party of welfare’. Tories love to bandy this about as though it is an insult. What they don’t tell you is that their alternative is abject poverty for all but an elite few.

I’m jumping ahead of myself. Here’s what Bernadette had to say:

“Conservative MPs frequently say that the Conservatives are the party of ‘hardworking people’, and the Labour Party is ‘the party of welfare’. It’s said as an accusation, an insult, and many Labour MPs take it as such, attempting to deny the charge as if it’s something to be ashamed of.

I would like to see Labour MPs acting as an Opposition, and to meet this ‘accusation’ head on, with conviction and pride. Here is what I’d like to hear a Labour MP say.

“Yes, we are the party of welfare, and we’re proud to be so. Let me tell you why.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that, if you have a stroke tonight, you should have poverty added to your misfortune.

“We’re the party of welfare because, if you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease tomorrow, we don’t believe that you should worry about eviction as you wait six months for an assessment, only to be denied the support you so obviously need.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that when 1,700 people apply for eight jobs at Costa, or when 1,500 people queue for hours to apply for 40 jobs at Aldi, there is a big problem with people being ‘workshy’. We don’t believe unemployed people are to blame for unemployment.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe ordinary workers need to be motivated by the threat of hunger, whilst bankers need huge bonuses to motivate them.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that if a person loses their job, they need to have their distress exacerbated with the threat of benefit sanctions if they are late for a Jobcentre appointment.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that ‘hardworking people’ and people in receipt of benefits are somehow two different species. We know that in an unfair economy, many hardworking people rely on benefits to keep a roof over their head and their children fed. And until such time as the economy is fair, and those people’s wages are sufficient, we will not begrudge them the support they need.

“So yes, we are the party of welfare, because we’re the party of humanity, compassion, and fairness, and we do not view people who are poor or in difficulty with thinly disguised suspicion and contempt.”

That is what I would like to hear a Labour MP say, the next time they are ‘accused’ of being the party of welfare.”

Hear, hear.

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