Where David Cameron got it wrong today

June 15, 2011 7:05 pm

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By Ed Miliband / @ed_miliband

Today we saw the usual pattern from the Prime Minister when he is in a corner. I have seen it at PMQs before – on school sports, NHS competition law and sentencing.

First he denies his own policy, then he tries insults. Usually, the U-turn follows

Will the same happen today? It certainly should.

It is bad enough that he insulted cancer victims by claiming they were a “smokescreen” Labour were using to distract from other issues.

But as I returned to my office after Prime Minister’s Question Time and read the messages to me from people whose loved ones are suffering from cancer it was clear to me he does not understand welfare reform.

He did not understand the detail of what is in his Welfare Reform Bill and that it would take away £94 a week from 7,000 cancer patients. These are people who only get this help because they have paid taxes and contributed all their lives.

He does not understand his reform fails to help people trying to get into work as it is completely unclear whether thousands of families will get childcare support if they go back to work.

His Bill penalises savers as it will take away the support they get in work if they have managed to put £16,000 away in a bank or building society.

It undermines compassion because alongside cancer sufferers it takes money away from vulnerable people in our care homes who currently rely on these payments for a shopping trip to town or a visit to a cinema.

On Monday I made clear we would be the party of the grafters. We want welfare reform which encourages responsibility.

We want welfare reform which encourages people to do the right thing, to work, to pay in into the system.

We are standing up for the right kind of welfare reform.

We tried to work with the Government , to improve their Welfare Reform Bill from a leap in the dark to a sensible step forward but they rejected our help.

That is why we will vote against their Bill.

And we will then go back to pushing for proper welfare reform which helps working families when they hit hard times but also encourages people to do the right thing.

This was first posted at www.edmiliband.org.

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