Monday, June 28, 2010

Welfare crackdown begins with drive to reduce incapacity benefit claims.

I am sure there are some people who are on disability benefit but are actually fit to work. However, I also believe that the vast majority of people on disability benefit are claiming that benefit quite properly.

So, I have no idea how much money George Osborne thinks he can save by targeting such a controversial benefit as a place where he hopes to make great savings, but that's the latest target to find itself in his cross hairs.

And let's not forget that Labour tried this to disastrous effect.

A new system introduced by the last government to assess whether or not the sick and disabled were capable of working wrongly found seriously ill people ready to work, according to a report in March by the Citizens Advice Bureau. People with advanced Parkinson's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis, with severe mental illness, or awaiting open heart surgery were registered as fit to work, it said.
It strikes me that there are so many places where this coalition could raise revenue - the scrapping of Trident to name just one way to save £80 billion that they refuse to explore - that going after the disabled comes across as crass and heavy handed.

The chancellor, George Osborne, signalled tonight that efforts to take more of those on incapacity benefit off welfare will form a significant part of plans to cut the deficit, saying: "It's a choice we all face. It is not a choice we can duck."

Osborne said the trade-off between cutting the £192bn welfare bill and the level of spending cuts required in other government departments will be a central feature of the first meeting this week of his pivotal cabinet committee on public spending.

Osborne is, once again, making out that we have no choice here but, of course, he does have a choice.

He could have raised taxation, but decided instead to raise Vat and look for cuts in welfare.

I am reasonably well off and find that this budget hardly affects me at all, which is why I find it so distressing when I see the government target those who most need our help.

Now, of course, Osborne will argue that he is only looking for people capable of working who are refusing to do so. But, as Labour found out when they tried this, you are just as likely to find yourself declaring seriously disabled people as fit for work.

This kind of reactionary behaviour is what we expect from the Tories, but this is actually being carried out by a Tory-Lib-Dem coalition. I wonder how long the Lib-Dem backbenchers can sit and watch this being done in their name.

Click here for full article.


Cecilieaux said...

I'm disappointed to see such Thatcherism ("New" Labour was really old toryism).

Kel said...

New Labour was indeed old Toryism, or Tory-lite as I liked to call it.

The Con-Dems are using the financial crisis to return to Thatcherite policies. Indeed, I would say their recent budget would have pleased Thatcher very much.