The government’s war on welfare is plunging more and more people into deeper poverty.
Cornwall county council evicted a woman from her home for having rent arrears due to the bedroom tax last week. And thousands now face the impossible choice between heating their homes or buying food.
But the government faces problems too. Its flagship benefit reform Universal Credit was meant to roll out to six more job centres this week. But five were postponed until spring, leaving just one new job centre in West London.
It’s the latest delay in a policy that has been mired in chaos from day one. It went from being the apple of Iain Duncan Smith’s eye to a millstone around his neck as soon as he tried to implement it.
The government is changing the rules to stop job centre workers helping disabled people from overturning unfair decisions to remove their benefits. It’s a petty, vindictive measure that will make an already cruel system even crueller.
But it’s also a recognition that the sheer volume of appeals against “fit for work” tests has sapped them of any credibility. This is all cold comfort to those facing a winter in poverty.
But it should be a wake up call to Labour and the trade union movement. The Tories can still lose their war on welfare if we put up a fight.