9th January: The Independent reports that even some Conservative MPs are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the party’s portrayal of benefit recipients as “scroungers” or “shirkers”.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has joined the criticism of the language used by Conservative Campaign HQ and the Chancellor George Osborne. Mr Duncan Smith was appalled by a Tory online advert last month showing a man on a sofa, asking whether the Government should support “hard-working families or people who won’t work”.
Duncan-Smith’s comments can be added to those of Martin Vickers, MP for Cleethorps who cautioned against tarring everyone with the same brush; and Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes who warned that the party should be more careful of the language it employs.
One Tory minister told The Independent: “We’ve not got the language right at Conservative HQ and the Treasury. Some people who lose their jobs and many people on tax credits, are strivers not scroungers. Young people looking hard for their first job are not skivers; there is a danger we may make them feel like parasites, and that we look like the nasty party. The message should be that we are making work pay.”