Monday, 6 February 2012

Creating Political Benefit

True to form the Conservative government is seeking to use the the well trodden 'divide and rule'.

Last week the Welfare Bill was debated in parliament, the disabled and sick have been painted as scroungers, with the Dept of Work and Pension mis representing the facts in their press campaign.

Today we have seen respected national charities speaking out about the mis representation of the facts six leading disability charities have spoken out against the government’s ‘scrounger’ rhetoric on welfare cuts, saying it fuels abuse of disabled people.

The charities speaking out - Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), and Disability Alliance - say inflammatory media coverage has played a role in this, they primarily blame ministers and civil servants for repeatedly highlighting the supposed mass abuse of the disability benefits system, much of which is unfounded…

So many of the government welfare reforms will fail to deliver what they want, the potty policy of get a job and lose your council house, or cancer patients only getting disabled benefit for twelve months, as if this arbitrary time can guarantee recovery from this terrible disease.

The benefit cap is a typical right wing political scam, easy politics and seemly popular, housing benefit is a large part of people benefit claim, yet housing benefit paid to private landlords is on average 50% higher than council housing, so the logical argument is to supply more council housing, especially as this account has been making a surplus in recent years.

Instead the Conservative plan is implement a benefit cap, they plan to implement a 80% of local private rent for housing associations, this will increase the housing benefit costs, they are cutting family work credits this makes work pay.

One of David Cameron’s advisers has attacked the government’s controversial welfare reform plans, warning that they could hit the wrong people. Speaking to BBC 5live, his “welfare-to-work Tsar” Emma Harrison said:

“We live in an amazing, civilised country so let’s not hurt the vulnerable. I’m worried about the number of families who will be affected by this…I think we need to be really, really careful we don’t catch the wrong people in these big reforms.”

Last week it was reported that 100,000 families are receiving food parcels as they do not have enough income to feed themselves.

Welfare should be seen as a safety net, not as a life choice, welfare reform should be about getting people back into work, supplying individuals with the skills to get work.

It is worrying youth unemployment is over 1million, yet the need to supply vocational training and quality apprenticeships, yet the government education policies want schools to focus on the English Baccalaureate and devalue vocational subjects, they've abandoned the Educational Maintenance allowance (OECD says this is cost neutral)and cutting of Future Jobs Scheme without the immediate replacement.

This government has many policies that either miss the point or do not achieve the desired objectives.

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