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Much has been written about how determined the government is to set the working poor against the workless poor. But less attention has been paid to the skill with which Conservative politicians are pushing the buttons of Middle England.
Prior to Channel Four’s ‘Benefits Street’ being aired last night (6 January 2014), the tabloid press had primed its readers, with plenty of articles such as this one from the Daily Express, laden with Iain Duncan Smith-style rhetoric: ‘broken Britain, scroungers, workshy, burden on society’, etcetera.
In 2008, the then Labour government introduced a new out of work sickness benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to replace the old Incapacity Benefit (IB).