Simon Fanshawe was a guest on this morning’s BBC Breakfast reviewing the mornings papers.
He started with this article from the Daily Mail – “Rises in welfare will be capped for six years.”
This is a transcript of some of what Simon said. (Audio beneath.)
“Let’s start with Grant Shapps, who I think is my least favourite politician. He says he is going cap to the rise in welfare benefits for six years. And the trouble for the government is that the welfare bill keeps going up, so they mount this attack on what they called the skivers as opposed to the strivers. Here are some facts about this though:
“60% of people who get some kind of benefit are in work. If you are in part-time work, of which there are 6 million in the country, and you can’t get that 24 hours worth of part-time worker week, you’re going to lose £4000 worth of tax credits during the year. People on benefit, 85% of people on housing benefit are in work, but it doesn’t go to them, it goes straight through them to the landlords.
“So the headline here that says, “Make it paid to work,” well the way to make it pay to work is to raise wages. What we doing with the benefits deal is subsidising employers who will not pay decent wages and that’s why people have to claim housing benefit and tax credit.
“And to mount this attack on the poor it seems to me seems unjustifiable.”
Simon went on to talk about the advertising campaign that the Tories are mounting in the areas where there are marginal seats. Other bloggers have covered this in a lot of detail.
Jonathan Portes, Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and previously Chief Economist at the UK Cabinet Office, explains why Indexing benefits to inflation is not “unsustainable” at all.
“The idea that benefits need to be cut in real terms in order to ensure either fairness to those in work or long-term sustainability is nonsense.”