Tag Archives: Benefit

Tory MPs criticise nasty party’s “scroungers” rhetoric

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.”


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500,000 workers to be worse off under benefits changes

6th January: The Observer reports that half a million low paid workers such as teachers, soldiers and nurses will be worse off as a result of the Coalition’s benefit reforms.

The planned rise of 1% for many benefits is widely regarded as the Coalition being tough on the workshy, but in fact it is those in work who will be worst hit.

The Observer also published the following letter, signed by (among others) the chief executives of the Children’s Society, Banardo’s, and Citizens Advice:

On Tuesday, MPs will debate the introduction of a 1% cap on benefit and tax credit increases under the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill. If introduced, this hardship penalty will hurt millions of families across the country – families already struggling to pay for food, fuel, rent and other basics.

Many thousands have turned to food banks for help. Nearly half of teachers say they often see children going hungry. Shockingly, 6 million households struggle to afford to heat their homes.

As the costs of fuel, food and housing rise again, we can expect to see these problems become even more severe and widespread.

This hardship penalty comes on top of freezes to child benefit and working tax credit, and cuts to housing benefit and council tax benefit. As a result of the 1% cap, a single-parent primary school teacher or a nurse with two children stands to lose £424 a year by 2015. An army second lieutenant with three children could lose £552 a year. If they are in private rented housing or if prices rise faster than expected, the loss is likely to be even greater.

The government must make sure that increases in benefit rates at the very least reflect rises in the cost of living. Otherwise, this toll will deepen inequality and increase poverty.


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