We are constantly being told that the British public has swallowed the 'scroungers and skivers' rhetoric about benefit claimants, and is broadly in favour of welfare cuts. Any politician who opposes these cuts is widely portrayed as unrealistic and unelectable. But what if that is not true, and the public's attitude is actually far less harsh than the Westminster bubble would have us believe?
Divisions have opened up among Labour Party leaders over whether to avoid opposing harsh social security cuts. Some regard this as a difference between the sensible and dogmatic. But perhaps this exposes past folly in supporting injustice and deceit.
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.
When the poverty figures were published last week, many people were surprised that they did not show a significant rise. Particularly for people active in their communities, the figures did not seem to reflect the hardship they are seeing.
Statutory maternity pay may be axed, and incapacity benefit and housing benefit for under-25s removed if the Conservatives return to power. The Guardian has revealed details of possible further ‘welfare’ cuts set out in leaked documents.
People with disabilities or a long-term illness, having borne the brunt of welfare cuts in this Parliament, fear what will happen after the General Election. With the Conservatives promising a further £12 billion cuts without specifying where the axe would fall, they fear the worst.
The total wealth of Britain’s richest 1000 individuals and families has more than doubled over ten years, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Meanwhile many ordinary people have been badly affected by low pay and cuts.
The Conservatives are refusing to give details of where £12 billion of further social security cuts will come from, but Iain Duncan Smith has said, "there are some things that we will do, and want to do, that are of life-changing, dramatic effects."