X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

George Osborne’s Budget elephant trap is still open and waiting for Labour

20 March 2014

9:32 AM

20 March 2014

9:32 AM

Yesterday the Opposition didn’t really do all that much opposing. Labour announced it was going to vote in favour of George Osborne’s AME welfare cap, with Ed Balls arguing that Ed Miliband had set this out in a speech last year anyway. This cap was supposed to be an elephant trap for Labour, but Labour initially appeared to have tip-toed around the edge without falling in. But Osborne has set a secondary snare for the party: the ‘bedroom tax’.

The Conservatives are keen to point out that restoring the ‘spare room subsidy’ would lead to a £465 million welfare spending rise in 2015/16, and want Labour to answer how they could avoid breaching the welfare cap. Ed Balls argued on Today that restoring the subsidy could actually save money because it is such a clumsy policy that it ends up costing more either through higher housing benefit payments to tenants forced to move to the private rented sector or through the costs of homelessness.

[Alt-Text]


Even privately Tory ministers accept that it’s not the worst policy for Labour to repeal: some call it ‘Lord Freud’s idea’ while another recently accepted to me that ‘it’s only popular if you ask the right question about it’ (which could be said for a number of unpopular measures).

But the question is valid: how would Labour cut welfare spending to stay under the cap? And thus the welfare cap trap stays open and the party needs to work out how not to fall into it.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close