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On the morning of the Thursday 27 February at 9.30am WOWpetition (the initiative of disabled and sick people calling for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform on the most vulnerable) will be holding a breakfast lobby in the Jubilee Room of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster – ahead of a debate in the Commons Chamber due for 11.30am.
When Iain Duncan Smith made his notorious speech in which he compared his welfare reforms to the abolition of slavery, he was assumed to be referring to the TV programme ‘Benefits Street’ when he spoke of ‘ghettos’ as evidence of all that is wrong with the welfare state.
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.
Anjelica Finnegan started work at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) this week and will be leading a new Joseph Rowntree Fund-financed research project to find out about the experiences of voluntary organisations dealing with the government's welfare changes in the Welfare Reform Act.
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.