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Will Cameron’s new benefits policy ever take off?

18 February 2015 18:52
David Cameron Makes Key Welfare Speech In East Sussex

Will the Tories really dock benefits from obese people and those with drug or alcohol addictions if they refuse treatment? Even though David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to the policy… Continue reading


Bold new Tory election strategy: Tax cuts for our chums; welfare cuts for you

17 February 2015 11:29

“There’s a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies. You know what some people call us… Continue reading


Lord Freud offers ‘full and unreserved apology’ for disability comments

15 October 2014 14:04
Work and Pensions Select Committee

Lord Freud has apologised for suggesting that disabled people were not ‘worth’ the minimum wage. He said: ‘I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish… Continue reading


Tory nerves over Osborne welfare gamble

30 September 2014 19:33
Image: Getty

Will George Osborne get away with his conference gamble that hits working families? The Chancellor’s speech would have received a far worse reception on the front pages of today’s newspapers… Continue reading


Government loses ‘bedroom tax’ vote

5 September 2014 14:02
Image: Getty

The government has just lost a vote in the House of Commons on the ‘bedroom tax’/removal of the spare-room subsidy/underoccupancy penalty/Size Criteria for People Renting in the Social Rented Sector… Continue reading


Osborne’s choice: important projects or welfare

5 August 2014 8:54
George Osborne

George Osborne can’t quite help himself. Today he’s continuing his Northern charm offensive, which has been impressively choreographed. He gave a speech back in June in which he said he… Continue reading


Scotching a myth: Scotland is not as left-wing as you think it is

21 May 2014 11:58
The Championships - Wimbledon 2013: Day Thirteen

Alex Salmond and David Cameron have more in common than a shared appreciation for Andy Murray’s tennis. Not, of course, that you would ever persuade either of them to admit… Continue reading


New Labour’s greatest failure

16 April 2014 18:58
These two men blew a golden opportunity to tackle welfare dependency.  (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

My friend and critic Jonathan Portes obviously took exception to my remarks about Keynesianism having been disproven. His entertaining rebuttal claims to have exposed my misreading of data. That’s not… Continue reading


Foodbank statistics present problems for the coalition – and for Labour

16 April 2014 11:47
Rochdale Foodbank Use Triples In A Year

Despite the stream of very good economic news (as described by Fraser and James), you won’t catch ministers saying that the crisis in living standards is ‘over’ because there is… Continue reading


The Conservatives’ moral mission: jobs, jobs, jobs

1 April 2014 10:56
Image: Getty

Remember Labour’s defining mission: ‘education, education, education’? Yesterday we had the Conservative equivalent ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’. In what some might see as an important day in the development of the… Continue reading


It’s time Labour talked about universal benefits

31 March 2014 10:54
Brian and Joan Caswell, who won a £24.9 Euromillions jackpot aged 74 and 72 respectively. Do they still need free bus passes? Image: Getty

For years the Nordic model has stood out as a beacon of universal welfare provision. But if you want evidence of how the global financial crisis has ripped up the… Continue reading


Will welfare cap vote be Miliband’s biggest rebellion?

25 March 2014 14:43
Miliband visits Trafalgar Place

So Rachel Reeves confirmed in the Commons today that Labour will back the welfare cap when it comes to a vote. Tory MPs cheered her as she announced this. There… Continue reading


How food banks were shunted around government departments

21 March 2014 14:34

It is well worth reading Paul Waugh’s interview with Iain Duncan Smith in the House Magazine for a number of reasons – not least his hint about docking child benefit… Continue reading


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

20 March 2014 9:32
Image: Getty

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… Continue reading


Welfare cap will change the way cuts are made

26 February 2014 11:56
Not as recalcitrant as he seems (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

The Sun’s report that pensioner benefits will be included in the overall cap on welfare spending highlights an interesting shift that this policy will cause. George Osborne will set out… Continue reading


The Church should be employing its moral outrage to greater effect

19 February 2014 17:45

Part of the role of the Church is to give the poorest in society a voice. It should be front and centre of the public debate about welfare reform, but… Continue reading


Did an archbishop really call for more public spending in response to food bank usage?

18 February 2014 19:33
Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Image: Getty

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, has spent an awful lot of time since his recent interview with the Telegraph clarifying just what he meant when he said that the way… Continue reading


Benefits Street: Viewers divide as the community draws closer together

20 January 2014 22:18

A change is in the air across Britain. A new divide is opening up: not between the rich and the poor, nor indeed the poor against the poor; but instead… Continue reading


Osborne sets clear welfare challenge to Labour – and his coalition partners

6 January 2014 10:51
Image: Getty

We already knew that the Chancellor would focus on welfare as a field ripe for further cuts in his speech in Birmingham today. When he delivered that speech, George Osborne… Continue reading


2014: the year of ‘hard truths’ that are easy for George Osborne to say

6 January 2014 8:57
Image: Getty

George Osborne has a funny way of saying ‘happy new year’. In his speech in Birmingham this morning, the Chancellor will describe 2014 as the year of ‘hard truths’ about… Continue reading


Cap child benefit? There are better ways to cut the welfare bill

16 December 2013 14:38
There are better ways for the state to save money than by making large families the preserve of the well-to-do.

David Davis is plainly right that the Tories are just testing the water to see how talk about capping child benefit to two children for people on the dole goes… Continue reading


George Osborne thickens his welfare dividing lines

12 December 2013 15:36
Image: Getty

We already knew that welfare would be a key dividing line for George Osborne at the next election. He set up the dividing lines in the emergency budget and comprehensive… Continue reading


Could ‘norms’ be influencing controversial fitness-to-work tests?

3 December 2013 17:05

Every so often, when another strange case crops up of someone being declared fit as a fiddle for work who then dies a few days later, or who cannot walk,… Continue reading


Social landlords have prostituted themselves over ‘Build to Rent’

21 November 2013 11:03
Involvement in schemes like Build to Rent have damaged the reputations of social landlords. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)

Last weekend a group of young professionals, forced by a spiralling housing market to rent rooms in shared houses at exorbitant prices, moved into a new development in London’s Stratford… Continue reading


Why Mike Penning can afford to be so aggressive about the benefit cap

23 October 2013 14:45

What a combative interviewee Mike Penning made on the Today programme. The new work and pensions minister clearly felt that given the benefit cap is the most popular policy pollsters… Continue reading