Socialist Worker

Labour lashes out at benefit claimants

Issue No. 2375

Labour’s new welfare spokesperson Rachel Reeves has pledged that Labour would be “tougher” on welfare claimants than the Tories.

Her promise dashed the hopes raised by Ed Miliband’s pledge to scrap the bedroom tax that Labour will stand up for working class people.

Labour strategists are obsessed with the idea that they are seen as “soft” on benefits. 

The party’s pollster James Morris pointed to a survey showing that 64 percent of swing voters backed Tory welfare attacks.

But why would it be otherwise when Labour and the Tories have mercilessly scapegoated benefit claimants for years?

Most people dramatically overestimate the amount spent on unemployment benefits, benefit fraud and benefits to migrants—because politicians never stop banging on about them.

And life for claimants is harsh. Unemployed people can have their entire income cut off for weeks if they fail to jump through an impossible set of hoops.

Disabled people have to go through humiliating assessments to prove they are not “fit for work”. 

And millions of workers rely on housing benefits to pay the rent.

Morris’ poll also found that 77 percent of voters said poor children should always get support.

That sense of solidarity is a good starting point for taking on the Tories—not pandering to them.


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What We Think
Tue 15 Oct 2013, 18:10 BST
Issue No. 2375
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