Plans to make even seriously ill or disabled people work without pay, or risk having their benefits cut, have met with wide criticism. There will be no time limits on such work placements, to be introduced when the Welfare Reform Bill has been passed by the UK Parliament.
The coalition can force its welfare changes through using procedural measures, minor concessions and ‘financial privilege’ to do so. But the long-term political fall-out from all of this could be immense, says Simon Barrow. The warfare over welfare has shown just how powerful citizens’ action and web-based crowd sourcing can be.
The astonishing failure of humanity and empathy apparent in the content of the Welfare Reform Bill and in the conduct of much of the parliamentary debate around it, reflects poorly on our politicians, says Jill Segger. She suggests that our adversarial and excessively partisan politics creates a culture in which MPs thrive by denying their better selves.
"The problem with the truth is that it’s complicated. Lies are simple, they can be altered to fit any audience, they can be sensational without any boring honest bits to dilute the story. Honesty doesn’t make headlines. That’s the problem with the Welfare Reform Bill..."