August 2015 seems to have experienced some kind of identity crisis. Not only did the weather pass from night frosts to baking hot days via torrential rain and flash floods, but the 'silly season' appears not to have happened at all.
Of all welfare reform policies, the benefit cap has resonated most strongly with the public, and gained most support from across the political spectrum. As a headline policy it has been easy to explain and to promote. When politicians asked, 'why should people get more on benefits than others get by working?', people tended to agree. Why should they?
When announcing a huge cut to Employment Support Allowance in his budget speech, George Osborne managed to pack so much that was misleading into only six sentences, it really merits some close analysis.
It would be quite misleading to describe the 2015 Summer Budget as a “one nation budget” or as favouring “working families” and “giving the nation a pay rise” in any meaningful sense, says Simon Barrow. On the contrary it hits low income households and disabled people, and will increase further Britain’s alarming levels of inequality.
In the New Statesman, 25-year-old Rosie Fletcher recently wrote, "Disease isn’t like a gas meter. It has no notion of economics. It doesn’t switch off because you’ve stopped putting money in. This isn’t some kind of elaborate con I’ve been running … Cutting my benefits won't get me back into work. It will make my life smaller, more stressful. It will make me sicker."