George Osborne claims he is targeting the work-shy and benefit scroungers, but it’s just not true

December 6, 2012 6:53 am

Yesterday we saw the full scale of David Cameron and George Osborne’s economic failure. And we also found out who is going to pay the price.

Our economy is forecast to shrink this year. Almost 1 million young people are out of work. Prices are set to carry on rising faster than wages next year. And the result of this failure on jobs and growth is that the government is even failing on the one test they set themselves – to balance the books and get the debt down by 2015.

The government is set to borrow £212 billion more than they planned and billions more than the plan they inherited and condemned at the time. And who is paying the price for this failure?

It will be millions of working people on modest and middle incomes already struggling to get by.

A one-earner family on £20,000 with two children will lose £279 a year from all the changes happening in April – on top of the cost of higher VAT. And this will happen on the same day the Tories and Lib Dems give a £3 billion tax cut to the richest people in the country – worth over £100,000 for 8,000 millionaires.

George Osborne claims he is targeting the work-shy and benefit scroungers, but it’s just not true. Six in ten households who will be hit by his real terms cuts to tax credits and benefits are actually in work, according to the Resolution Foundation. David Cameron and George Osborne can no longer claim we are all in this together when it is working families, striving to do their best, who are being singled out.

Instead of a change of course, all we got yesterday was more of the same failing policies. There was no bank bonus tax to pay for a youth jobs programme. There were no tax breaks for small firms taking on extra workers. And no plan to build more affordable homes, creating jobs and apprenticeships.

It’s now clear that only a One Nation Labour Party can deliver the change our country needs to make the economy fairer and stronger, cut the deficit, and help people get on in life. Because yesterday this government showed themselves to be unfair, incompetent and completely out of touch.

Ed Balls is the Shadow Chancellor

  • AlanGiles

    Strange, isn’t it?. When a politician finds himself out of government and in opposition, he becomes so kind and understanding towards the unemployed: even the Tories claimed they were outraged by some of the 2009 Freud/Purnell reforms (even though they couldn’t wait to recruit the amateur meddler to the Lords). But if and when he returns to government he has no concerns when his colleagues use words like “workshy” and “benefit scroungers” – shall we look back at those golden years 1997-2010 and recall the sort of rhetoric Field, Blunkett, Hutton, Purnell, Flint, Cooper and vision of loveliness tapdancer Blears et al used?. Shall we, Mr Balls?

    Nice try but somehow the crocodile tears just don’t convince. IF your leader and party had any real regard for the unemployed Liam Byrne would not still be in post.

  • AlanGiles

    Strange, isn’t it?. When a politician finds himself out of government and in opposition, he becomes so kind and understanding towards the unemployed: even the Tories claimed they were outraged by some of the 2009 Freud/Purnell reforms (even though they couldn’t wait to recruit the amateur meddler to the Lords). But if and when he returns to government he has no concerns when his colleagues use words like “workshy” and “benefit scroungers” – shall we look back at those golden years 1997-2010 and recall the sort of rhetoric Field, Blunkett, Hutton, Purnell, Flint, Cooper and vision of loveliness tapdancer Blears et al used?. Shall we, Mr Balls?

    Nice try but somehow the crocodile tears just don’t convince. IF your leader and party had any real regard for the unemployed Liam Byrne would not still be in post.

    • aracataca

      Cooper? The spray gun is really out of control now Alan,

      • AlanGiles

        Yvette Cooper was a great supporter of little Jimmy Purnell, William. Had you forgotten?

        • Serbitar

          She wasn’t just a supporter she was James Purnell’s successor at the DWP and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who pushed the Freud/Purnell bill through the House of Commons into law.

        • aracataca

          I think I’ve got it. Yesterday’s budget had nothing whatsoever to do with this awful and spiteful government.
          In fact it was all the fault of Yvette Cooper. – Perfect sense.

          I note (true to form) that you had absolutely nothing critical to say about what was said by Osborne yesterday

        • PaulHalsall

          Alan is correct in all his posts here.

    • Gabrielle

      This is all just ‘whataboutery’. Labour aren’t in office. A Tory government – with no mandate – is, and they’ve done nothing but demonise people who are already struggling, whilst giving tax cuts to the richest (many of whom donate to their party – what a coincidence).

      One problem Labour faced whilst in office was that they were attacked by the right who would make the absurd charge that Labour somehow approved of people living the life of Riley on benefits. They implied that benefits were a sort of bribe to keep people voting Labour.

      The fact was, people in areas of high unemployment (going back to the reign of Mad Maggie) had in many cases resigned themselves to their lot. This is what Purnell and Byrne were trying to address. What they were *NOT* doing is demonising the sick and disabled and somehow blaming them – rather than the banks – for a global financial crash. Instead of scapegoating people, they wanted to help them rebuild their lives.

  • Serbitar

    During its first year the government’s flagship Work Programme run by private profit making organisations who are supposedly expert at placing people in jobs, failed to secure six months paid work for more than 5% of the 877,870 men and women of working referred to it. The failure was spectacular and universal. Over its first fourteen months the Work Programme barely managed to provide six months employment for a miserable 3.5% of its clients on average calculated cumulatively. (Work Programme “customers” who got into work did so in fits and starts, discontinuously.) Considering that the private provider organisations were incentivised by a “py by results” regime and had the power to arrange to have uncooperative participants “sanctioned”, i.e., stripped of their benefits for two week to three years(!), these abysmal statistics demonstrate conclusively that for hundreds of thousands of unemployed citizens at present getting a job is hard if not impossible: if the contrary were true Work Programme providers would have been far more successful at driving people placed with them into work and would have received much bigger rewards as a result.

    It is ridiculous and disingenuous for anyone, anywhere, to continue to demonise the unemployed (and other benefit claimants) basing policy decisions on urban myths, black propaganda, newspaper campaigns, and use of emotive language and similar.

    It is no wonder that the public distrusts politicians.

    • aracataca

      The work programme has been a gravy train for those who have given donations to the Tory party.

  • NT86

    “It’s now clear that only a One Nation Labour Party can deliver the
    change our country needs to make the economy fairer and stronger, cut
    the deficit, and help people get on in life”

    Christ, every Labour politician is now slipping in that “One Nation” prefix into virtually every speech or article they do. I liked the speech it came from, but my goodness it’s starting to sound really manufactured and cookie cutter now.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001116515833 Michael Carey

      To be fair, phrases like that tend to sound cookie cutter to politicos long before they’ve reached the general consciousness. We need to start knowing what it means in practice, though, to keep it from getting stale.

    • leslie48

      But its so, so true because the Conservatives are sociologically :upper middle-class, are middle aged males , are representing the South East seats. Sheltered down here by endless queues of German made 4*4s, packed up-market resturants, crowded coffee bars , self-employed business folk not PAYE , with leafy good schools in the home counties preparing for the red bricks unis, disdain for anywhere beyond this prosperous quarter of England – this home counties elite will do anything to stay dominant including spreading propaganda lies day in day out about how Labour messed it all up or how there are too many people on endless benefits…They run the UK. Labour is now in a post-modern sense becoming an Obama party reaching out to more women, and those who do not fit the Tory ideal type of home counties male. It time we really told the truth about how well we live down here in the land of plenty.

      • Hugh

        “Labour is now in a post-modern sense becoming an Obama party”

        This surely is the direction that Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Hilary Ben and all those other horny handed sons of toil have been searching for: the chance to remould Labour as a post-modern Obama party. There is hope brothers.

        Onward!

  • Gabrielle

    Mark, why is it that so many anti-Labour rants are OKed, and yet my comments stay in moderation?

    • Dave Postles

      I don’t think they should be construed as anti-Labour rants, but the pleas of the disaffected.

  • markfergusonuk

    I’m working through the moderation methodically – give me time…

    • Gabrielle

      Cheers :)

  • AlanGiles

    “One problem Labour faced whilst in office was that they were attacked by
    the right who would make the absurd charge that Labour somehow approved
    of people living the life of Riley on benefits.”

    And – instead of trying to educate people, and letting them know that pace News International and the Daily Express, the majority of people of benefits were ordinary men and women who had the misfortune to be ill or disabled or living in areas on high unemployment, and being paid quite small amounts of benefit as a rule, they got sanctimonious people like Frank Field playing along with the game, implying that he thought so too.

    “aracataca” or William always seems to forget (or pretends to forget) it was Labour who gave Freud his head – the coalition are merely continuing the work New Labourites started. They would have had to have started from square one in 2010 if Brown and Purnell had not started the dirty work for them – similarily it was Peter hain who started to dismantle Remploy in 2008. This odious government had life made much more easy for them thanks to that shower of “ultras”.

    With all due respect, your ” What they were *NOT* doing is demonising the sick and disabled and somehow blaming them”, is utterly absurd – ATOS was encouraged by Purnell et al to get people off of disability benefits to the extent they were finding terminally ill people with cancer “fit for work”.

    • aracataca

      Who’s in government Alan?

      • Serbitar

        The real question is if Labour wins the next election, which I believe now is a real possibility, will anybody notice any difference to their lives? In the recent past the Labour Party made terrible mistakes in social policy that ruined the lives of many and cost the lives of far too many. Such horrors must never, ever be allowed to happen again.

        • aracataca

          Since this awful government came in I’ve lost all my tax credits that I received for my severely disabled son, I’ve been privatised, losing access to my public service pension that I contributed to for 23 years and my new private employer (which is under investigation for fraud) has just informed me (within 3 weeks of taking over) that my hours are going to be reduced by 20%.
          In this context all this stuff about 2009 and Lord Freud etc is completely irrelevant.This site needs to talk about what this government is doing and how Labour will do things differently if and when it gets in in 2015.Not constantly go round and round in circles about things that happened years ago and engage in personal vendettas against people that are no longer in Parliament let alone power.

          • AlanGiles

            I am sorry for your situation, William, BUT 2009 is NOT irrelevant. It was Blair (2006), Hutton and Purnell who actually set Freud up as an “expert” on welfare, when they and we know he was no such thing (by his own admission – “I knew nothing about welfare” (Daily Telegraph article 2nd Feb 2009). Had Labour had the sense to kick the investment bankers report into the long grass (as Cameron has in another context with Lord Heseltine’s), the Coalition would have been starting from square one in 2010, at which time I think it would have been much harder to have got the so-called reforms through Parliament, since, quite clearly Labour would have voted against to a man. As it was the reforms were going through as Freud became a Tory peer, and Cooper when she was asked to rescind or rethink the bill after Purnell resigned and she took his place, also reiterated that Freud was “a welfare expert” and gushing about the Freud report. He is an expert in banking (hence the fact he is a multimillionaire) NOT on welfare. Even in that 2/2/09 Telegraph, he proved he was not an expert by repeating howlers like it is the patients GP who signed the patient onto I.B., when as we all know, it was independent doctors employed by the DWP.

            I also remind you that in 2009 Purnell said that “the full effects of the reforms would not be seen till 2013″. A rare example of Purnell actually saying something truthful

            I have no love of this government, and especially not of the cowardly Duncan-Smith, but quite literally Labour made the bullets for the Conservatives/LibDems to fire, however much you don’t want to think about that, any reasonable person will see that it is true.

          • aracataca

            Change the record and talk about now.

          • AlanGiles

            “talk about now.”

            I’ll do better than that Bill and talk abiout the future.

            Do you seriously believe much would change under a Miliband government?. Blair and the New Labourites by and large followed on from where the Tories left off with their Neo Liberal policies and hope for “top down” improvements to the lot of the poor. It didn’t work. The coalition has taken Brown’s disasters to the next level, and we currently have a shadow cabinet which seems to be an aviary – full of parrots repeating the words “one nation” as if it were a magic spell or mantra. In reality we have a party that doesn’t even know if it will vote against the cuts in real terms to those on benefits (or at least Rachel Reeves couldn’t or wouldn’t answer on Wednesday evening). Labour has a leader who must be aware he is carrying a lot of under-performing individuals in his shadow cabinet, many of them tainted from the 2010 corps, and he is so nervous of his Blairites that he hasn’t got the courage to remove them.

            I don’t see much change in 2015 – I doubt that they will un-privatise your job for example (like Blair they might say they will, as he was going to do with the railways), but it will be “too difficult/late/expensive” and if Byrne is still at DWP there will be precious little humanity there.

          • aracataca

            Any chance of having a go at this government for a change?

          • aracataca

            I take it then that you don’t want to criticise this government and that you are more interested in attacking Labour instead.

          • aracataca

            I take it then that you don’t want to criticise this government and that you are more interested in attacking Labour instead.

          • AlanGiles

            You just seem to want argument for arguments sake. Don’t you ever bother to read what I write about Duncan-Smith, for example?. That expenses scrounger, I maintain, did have his work made easier for him by Labour passing off Freud as a “welfare expert” when he was nothing of the sort. We all know he wasn’t an expert, but sadly, too many Labour tribalists, not to mention Mps were apparently too timid or too frightend to mention it. Only a few Labour MPs like John McDonnell actually voted against the original bill

          • aracataca

            I’m not the only person saying all you ever do on here is criticise Labour am I Alan? Give it a rest just for a week or two and turn your fire on the Tories.

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    I’m yet to be convinced that Labour can deliver the change the country needs, the policies outlined so far are just not of the size and scale necessary.

    Youth jobs programme, 150k homes, some changes to the tax system, well it’s all in the right direction but isn’t going to get the economy back to major growth. Then there’s the tricky issue of when would we start dealing with the deficit and what would Labour cut?

  • aracataca

    It’s irritating Gabrielle. Some people on here seem to think that a circular debate, (which often descends into abuse) about events that happened years ago and involved people that have defected to the Tory party or are no longer in Parliament and whose actions nobody on here defends is preferable to a debate about what this government is doing now. You’re wasting your time attempting to get some people to move on or change their record (so to speak) and it’s completely fruitless but there we go.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graeme-Hancocks/1156294498 Graeme Hancocks

    It is a cynical disgusting ploy….find a scapegoated and blame them for all the countries ills.It is designed to appeal to smug, comfortable people who read the Mail, the Express etc who have this rather unattractive view of life, in the hope of getting their votes. Of course, there are some work shy people. The majority of people though looking for work desperately want it. I also know people in receipt of some benefits who are in work but it is poorly paid and they are getting through only through various family benefits. To be demonized by men who have never had to struggle, never done a proper job, who have lived a life of pure privilege and ease is sickening. Osborne, Cameron, Clegg and so are beneath contempt.

  • coalitionkid

    Methinks Labour are scared -Balls has been skewered by Osborne – something nobody ever thought possible. Mr Balls has been coasting along with his `let’s give a critical analysis of everything until the Tories lose the election` game. The problem with that is that he’s been found out.

    Georgie Boy’s left a neat little trap for him – does he vote against the welfare bill (in which case the vast majority of taxpayers who are locked out of HIS benefit system will casually regard Labour as out of touch with their concerns) or does he agree that the extra money in people’s pockets is a good thing and more than makes up for the non inflation-proofed tax credits?

    Wednesday the 5th December, 2012 was a momentous day. It’s the day that Labour’s `client group pseudo social democracy` (and let’s face it if it WAS Scandinavian style social democracy red in tooth and claw Labour would run a mile) finally hit the buffers through lazy inert arrogance. In its place is the new centrism where tax threshold increases replace `form filling` tax transferences.

    It must be scary – a central plank of voting Labour will be made redundant.

  • metrolivia

    I am terrified…I do not know how I will cope…..I do not know how my children with young families will cope…..I am scared…the future under this Regime looks impossible. Myself and the rest of my family fall under the umbrella of scroungers and the lower paid. We are being punished for what the rich in our society have created. They should pay. In order to balance the books the Regime should make the bankers and filthy rich pay…the Regime should not make cuts to the poorest. If your outgoings are more than your income, in this instance, the Regime should increase their income and NOT reduce their outgoings. Stop reducing tax to fat cats…increase tax for fat cats, bring more in…dont reduce your outgoings any more, we are starving here at the bottom of the pile, we are freezing, we have no jobs to apply for. The ‘Haves’ are getting pats on the back and hanging on to their wealth when the Have Nots are being bled dry by having money taken away from them that they need just to survive. It was not the ‘Have Nots’ who made this financial situation, we did not speculate and lose, those on benefit and in public service did not make this situation….why are we being pounded in this manner????? We cannot take any more cuts, we just cannot. Civil unrest will be the result…mark my words.

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