Morning Report: Welfare and indiscipline

8th January, 2013 8:41 am

Today’s the day that George Osborne has been waiting for sinc the Autumn Statement. He gets to cut the benefits of the unemployed (and 7 million working people, and statutory maternity pay) and he gets to attack Labour at the same time. George will enjoy that. He’s even made a poster for the occasion. It’s almost like this vote is more about hurting Labour than reducing the deficit or dealing with Britain’s spiralling welfare bill…

Yet the indiscipline of the coalition is threatening George’s big day. As if having a cabinet resignation on the day of the big relaunch wasn’t bad enough (before replacing him with a man who tried to resign), Clegg then followed that up with criticism of the deserving/undeserving poor rhetoric. Perfect timing ahead of the big vote.

Speaking of the vote – Labour confirmed last night that (as expected) they’re opposing the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, and will attempt to force through an amendment that introduces a compulsory job scheme. It won’t work of course – the parliamentary numbers aren’t there – but it’s an interesting statement of intent nonetheless.

The Welfare Bill vote is likely to dominate today, but there are some other interesting stories bubbling under, including disgruntled Army Chiefs unhappy over cuts and the British Camber of Commerce predicting “weak growth” in 2013. Perhaps the most interesting other story for Labour people though is the news that Rochdale council are planning on getting around the Eric Pickles “council tax referendum” by using a loophole in the Localism Bill. Presumably it’s the loophole that allows for some actual localism…

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