Welfare cuts will make nonsense of Cameron narrative of working class conservatism

Osborne is in a fix.   If he is determined on £12bn welfare cuts come what may, he has a choice: either at least part of the half of social security spending which is currently protected will have to be raided, or there will almost certainly have to be significant cuts in in-work benefits which would seriously undermine Cameron’s claim/fantasy to be champion of blue collar conservatism since such workers are heavily dependent on these benefits.   Of the £220bn social security budget, State pensions take £92bn, universal pensioner benefits £2.8bn and child benefits £12.7bn.   That leaves only 3 large sectors within that budget which are being targeted – tax credits, housing benefit, and disability benefits.   All three are politically explosive.

Housing benefit accounts for £26bn and has been a colossal subsidy to private landlords as house prices have risen, pushing up rents.   Although none of this benefit has gone to tenants, if housing benefit is now significantly cut but landlords do not correspondingly reduce their rents, tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of private tenants will be forced out and have to move further afield, perhaps hundreds of miles, where rents are cheaper.   It also means that numerous private landlords, who very largely support the Tories, may find that their properties are unlet.

Cutting disability benefits, now costing £21.6bn, would be a perilous area for the Tories.   There is no public support for this (apart from some disability hatred oddballs who equate them with spongers), and the disability lobby is well organised and effective.   The Disability Living Fund is already being transmuted into a much weaker and less effective alternative scheme, and any further significant cutbacks could turn out to be extremely provocative.

Chopping tax benefits, now worth £29.9bn, would be even more tricky.   As the market level of wages has been pushed down over the last decade, tax credits have played a crucial role in incentivising people in low-income households to take on work which raises their income above benefit levels.   Any significant reductions in in-work benefits not only change the balance of that equation in a very unhelpful way, but also badly undermine the narrative, however far-fetched, that the Tories are on the side of blue-collar workers.

The only other option available is a big cut in means-tested child tax credits, two-thirds of which go to people in work.   The BBC recently reported that Osborne was considering pegging pack them back to 2003-4 levels.   This would cut entitlements for some 3.7 million low-income families with children by an average of about £1,400 a year, or £27 a week.   That would reduce public expenditure by £5bn, but a cut of this size to family budgets could well be politically explosive.

 

 

11 thoughts on “Welfare cuts will make nonsense of Cameron narrative of working class conservatism

  1. Hum why not attack their universal credit has this isnt whot they tell those ninty nine percent who aint rich that it will target those who need it but in real time it will hinder those working and penalise them yes a lovely one this you get your child tax working tax credits because you get a benefit you are now called into your local job centre for that help to get you off benefts lovely isnt it a rather good roos by our rtu ids he can then sanction you saving more monies rather good hay penalise those in work now we have all those ninty nine percent who aint rich under their rule whot a cracker hay george hay will just hit the poorest

  2. Once a again there’s no, “clear water,” between your lot and the other equally contemptible rabble on this issue, during the election we had the offensive and frankly repellent spectacle of a clueless multi millionaire property developer and of his equally odious personal and political entourage; low life like Balls, (“people who expect something for nothing,”) and Reeves, (“harder on benefit claimants than the Tories,”) haranguing, “the poor,” about the need to work hard and about how, “wrong,” it was of us all to expect the state to support us when that work wasn’t there or no matter how insecure, exploitive or abusive it was.

    A sentiment reiterated recently by yet another well heeled Labor spiv, the despicable Andy Burnham who refused to criticize the Tories or their arbitrary benefit cap, (or the tactic of gradually ratcheting down the entitlement,) inflicted by the Tories, no matter how great or how desperate the needs of the actually claimant are.

    The temptation to see clear parallels with the early stages of the Final Solution, a policy delivered under National Socialism in Germany is acute; just how many vulnerable and desperate people are now being robbed of their basic benefits, (their basic rights as UK citizens,) by a brutal and increasingly arbitrary, (target driven,) bureaucracy and sent away to starve or steal, (or die,) is an issue far more immediate and far more acute than ancient history, such as the events at Orgreave during the 1984-5 miners strike or even for that matter at Hillsborough?

    As with the Final Solution; particularly when the hospitals were emptied by murdering the defectives and unfit in cold blood, most people in the UK already know what’s happening here perfectly well, it’s just emotionally convenient, (denial,) for most people to pretend that they don’t or that somehow it doesn’t really matter.

    I have little doubt indeed that you personally still genuinely give a damn about all this; but as in so often the case lately you speak only for your self and not at all for the stinking wound on the body politic that the post Blair Labor party has now become.

  3. For example, when a well respected scientist, (and Nobel laureate,) happens to make some ill judged and possibly facetious, (I don’t care,) comments about women in science then the media and institutional over reaction couldn’t have been more hysterical, overblown or disproportionate if he’d been caught kiddy fiddling, (I use this only as an example,) yet the grinding attrition against the poorest, those in our society who have the misfortune to be unemployed and always against the disabled, continues almost without comment.

  4. jp you sinic but spot on once again you mention The temptation to see clear parallels with the early stages of the Final Solution, a policy delivered under National Socialism in Germany is acute
    one should state culling the cattle action t4 one only has to put those into your browser to find out whot it means culling the stock rtu ids way how lovely ridding themselves of all those who cant work back to my window licking

  5. jeffrey davies-

    “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”

    George Bernard Shaw

    Not that I’d include you in that, not for one moment; like several other, (most,) people who comment regularly here you generally see these things clearly enough.

  6. I am totally confused, how can we even think about another runway for London, a garden bridge over the Thames, HS2 railway, Trident, the total cost to date and waste of the universal credit, a new development on the Thames to house the Royal barge, millions wasted on appeals by the DWP resisting release of information, on their reforms, the list is endless.

    The NHS, people who are sick and disabled are crying out for help, food-banks and children growing up in extreme poverty, which takes preference or maybe I am missing something.

    I know where the priorities are needed and it’s none of those listed in my first paragraph.

  7. Reducing the need for welfare benefits by introducing a living wage and capping rents would seem the right way to go, but I can’t see Osborne doing it! I’ve an idea Labour were steering towards this.

    I’m still really angry at all the people who are suffering under this horrible regime but who didn’t vote for Labour!

    PS John –
    you’re forgetting the £15m or so they want to use to build a museum in honour of Margaret Thatcher!

  8. Wanda please tell me you are not serious £15 million in honour of Thatcher WHAT!! is this not rubbing salt into the wounds inflicted by their vile policies. Words fail me.

    I agree capping rents would make a world of difference but as you so rightly state would go against the grain for Osborne as many of his chums are massive property landlords and he can’t upset them. This at the same time they are ethnically cleansing the capitol.

  9. You shouldnt be mad at the ones who didnt vote has they couldn’t choose between the partys it seems they not gullible but untill this party rids itself of greedie mps the blair babies then on this abuse of the poor will go hum on the welfare side I wouldnt crow to much about it you now you that nice lady reeves burham you now the ones they capped or cut it you see they aint labour but little tories with red ties untill that day we see a real labour party or am I whistling in the wind hy ho hy ho

  10. I cannot express how betrayed I feel by Labour. Blue Labour brought in benefit sanctions and fought tooth and nail to impose compulsory biometric ID. They wanted to force a key mechanism of totalitarianism on us, with slippery bullshit excuses such as anti-kiddie fiddling and anti terrorism (which they shifted away from when the bullshit was exposed- the terrorists were UK citizens and the kiddie fiddlers protected (rich) establishment figures). War-crim Blair exposed Labour as slightly less blue than the Tories. I wanted something resembling socialism in the previous election and the nearest thing was Lib-Dem. Look where that got me.

  11. i cant understand why the labour party wont entertain leaning back to the left instead of jumping to the right. the party was founded by socialists.
    millions of people voted for alternative parties or did not even bother to vote at all because labour were turning into conservatives. We lost the whole of Scotland to a more socialist and more anti austerity party so why are we hell bent of going further to the right again. We did not lose the election because we were to left wing, we lost because we not left wing enough.

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