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Welfare

These two men blew a golden opportunity to tackle welfare dependency.  (Photo by Steve Eason/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

New Labour’s greatest failure

16 April 2014 18:58

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

80 Comments
Rochdale Foodbank Use Triples In A Year

Foodbank statistics present problems for the coalition – and for Labour

16 April 2014 11:47

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

32 Comments
Image: Getty

France – worker’s paradise or Steynian Dystopia?

11 April 2014 14:12

Un autre jour glorieux dans la lutte contre réalité économique. France’s major employers’ federation and two unions have signed an agreement whereby employees not subject to the country’s 35-hour labour… Continue reading

27 Comments
Image: Getty

The Conservatives’ moral mission: jobs, jobs, jobs

1 April 2014 10:56

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

24 Comments
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

It’s time Labour talked about universal benefits

31 March 2014 10:54

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

42 Comments
Miliband visits Trafalgar Place

Will welfare cap vote be Miliband’s biggest rebellion?

25 March 2014 14:43

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

13 Comments
BRITAIN-POVERTY-ECONOMY

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

32 Comments
Image: Getty

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

20 March 2014 9:32

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

60 Comments
Not as recalcitrant as he seems (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Welfare cap will change the way cuts are made

26 February 2014 11:56

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

10 Comments
Where were the bishops when Labour was spending money we didn't have? (CHRIS ISON/AFP/Getty Images)

The church is better at the welfare business than the state

21 February 2014 14:56

Today I have a piece in the Times (£ obviously, you know that) about the power of the Christian Left, following the Anglican bishops’ letter in the Daily Mirror; the… Continue reading

9 Comments
Protester

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

46 Comments
Archbishop Vincent Nichols. Image: Getty

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

18 February 2014 19:33

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

64 Comments
Spec_CoverIMG_180114-x

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

70 Comments
Rochdale Foodbank Use Triples In A Year

Does it matter if Tories don’t know what it’s like to be poor?

20 January 2014 16:21

I have this theory that the reason why the British public is so hugely in favour of cutting welfare to the bone, and the British media so hostile, is that… Continue reading

16 Comments
Image: Getty

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

6 January 2014 10:51

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

18 Comments
Image: Getty

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

6 January 2014 8:57

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

89 Comments
There are better ways for the state to save money than by making large families the preserve of the well-to-do.

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

16 December 2013 14:38

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

24 Comments
Image: Getty

George Osborne thickens his welfare dividing lines

12 December 2013 15:36

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

78 Comments
Image: GEORGES GOBET/AFP/GettyImages

The EU is corrupt because southern Europe is corrupt

6 December 2013 14:47

What with Britain’s dreadful performance in the PISA educational rankings, there has been comparatively little attention given to another international league table– Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. The good news… Continue reading

45 Comments
wheelchair

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

33 Comments
Involvement in schemes like Build to Rent have damaged the reputations of social landlords. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages)

Social landlords have prostituted themselves over ‘Build to Rent’

21 November 2013 11:03

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

12 Comments
BRITAIN-POLITICS

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

42 Comments
Red Cross Reports Growing Numbers Of Needy Across Europe

Food bank use is up again: how can ministers respond?

16 October 2013 15:52

Today’s figures from the Trussell Trust on food bank use were good fodder for Labour at PMQs. But the message from the charity, which I profiled for the Spectator a… Continue reading

21 Comments
David Cameron with Abdullah Gul, the President of Turkey, in 2011. (Dan Kitwood/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s stated aim of getting Turkey to join the EU is mad

14 October 2013 15:43

Rather to my embarrassment, I find that I missed last night’s episode of the BBC2 three-part series on The Ottomans, Europe’s Muslim Conquerors, in which I briefly featured. So Heaven… Continue reading

253 Comments
A woman cleans the stage ahead of David Cameron's speech yesterday. Picture: Getty

The ravelling and unravelling of the only policy in David Cameron’s speech

3 October 2013 17:37

David Cameron’s speech to Tory conference yesterday was supposed to be policy-free so that the media would pick up his list of achievements because it had no other choice. The… Continue reading

21 Comments