It has long been apparent that demeaning and demonising benefit recipients to provide a rationale for deep welfare cuts is part of the government's strategy. Given the distribution curve of human behaviours, it is inevitable that some who receive benefits will be feckless, lazy and scrounging, just as these defects will also be found in the more prosperous strata of society. Now, Lord Freud – the Welfare Reform Minister – has found a new slur to cast on poor people.
In seeking once again to blame the poor for poverty, UK work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has implied that several children of members of the royal family may be poorer than many living on the breadline with parents earning the minimum wage.
On 31 October the House of Commons will debate the Local Government Finance Bill, which proposes to cut 10 per cent of the grant local authorities receive from central government towards council tax benefits.