"The fundamentals upon which today’s benefits system was built were straightforward enough. They represented a moral response to the privations and penury of the urban poor in the years after the industrial revolution. The aim was to help people to help themselves and to provide a safety net for those who couldn’t, or who found themselves in temporary difficulties either through illness or unemployment. An essential principle for Chadwick and Lloyd George – and for William Beveridge, too – was that benefits should not be set so high as to deter a low-paid worker from taking a job [see Medicine Through Time GCSE History textbook! - RWG]. They all recognised the dangers of creating what we now call a dependency culture, whereby state payments are so generous that the rational choice for recipients is to live on them rather than take what might be an arduous and poorly rewarded job."....and Tom Chapman was there to witness the speech!!!! Chappers perhaps you could comment below on the speech and the atmosphere in the crowd. Is there any 'Thick of It' style political gossip to tell?
Does this represent the end of Cameron's 'compassionate Conservatism' or is it a reassertion of it? Do these ideas fit in with the coalition's current 'universal credit' which will be slowly introduced over the next couple of years?
Predictably Toynbee (a leftist's leftist - and therefore a gift for synopticity marks in the exam) counters (full article) here...
Behind in the polls, David Cameron cleaves to his one truly popular policy:cutting welfare. Pollsters say people want it cut even more. His speech hits every button, stirring up those on quite low incomes against those on very low incomes, dividing and ruling, distracting from the lifestyle of the rulers. With the rottweiler tendency on his backbenches growing restless, he throws them the vulnerable to chew on – all those luxuriating in the "culture of entitlement" on £71 a week unemployment pay. Politically, it works well – for now.
A red mist of despair poured from children's and disability charities, stunned at yet another assault on those they try to defend. Already the £18bn benefit cut is "without historical or international precedent," according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Cameron's 17 "ideas" may not all see the light of day, but another £10bn will be cut: housing benefit and US-style benefit time limits yield the big money.
....and a full scale attack via Guardian editorial here (if it's in an editorial, then the paper really mean it!
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