Labour’s position on universal benefits “has not changed”

29th April, 2013 2:26 pm

Ed Miliband was on WATO at lunchtime today, and said:

“We’re supporters of the Winter Fuel Allowance and those other benefits. We introduced them when we were in Government. Of course in our policy review we will look at all these issues,”

Plenty of people have read plenty into that final sentence, but a Labour spokesperson was clear this afternoon that Labour values the Winter Fuel Allowance – and its universality:

“Of course we look at all these issues but as Ed made clear twice in the interview Labour supports the Winter Fuel Allowance. Labour introduced the Winter Fuel Allowance. He made clear in his interview in January with James Landale in January that universality is “part of the bedrock” of our system. The position has not changed.”

The Labour Party policy review will obviously look at all welfare payments – but Stewart Wood was clear at the recent One Nation conference about the effectiveness of universal benefits. I don’t see that changing any time soon…

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  • AlanGiles

    Perhaps Mr. Miliband should not aim to be so “enigmatic”, by adding that final….” Of course in our policy review we will look at all these issues,”

    Not only is EM decidedly NOT enigmatic, it creates the impression, yet again, that nothing concrete can be said until the great policy “review” is completed. And waiting for that seems to be longer than Waiting For Godot.

    BTW I have no wish to receive monies I have no need of, but as Duncan-Smith suggested older people should “give back to the state” benefits if they don’t need them, will he be giving back to generous expenses and food allowance he accepts?. I am sure he is not exactly a pauper.

  • The interviewer didn’t let him finish what he was trying to say. Irritating. Something to be said for the Tebbit/Field technique of speaking slowly and simply continuing as the interviewer then tries, unsuccessfully , to butt in

    • Graemeyh

      Yes, EM really needs to learn to do that….Most interviewers these days are like Martha Carney and Paxman – rude and keep interrupting. They are never going to let him finish so best to develope a style like you suggest and stick to it.

    • AlanGiles

      It was though, Mike a frankly terrible performance. Like the Jan 2012 WATO interview he gave to try to recreate the “I’m Backing Britain” campaign of 1968 (also with Ms Kearney) and she is quite a tolerant interviewer (imagine if it had been John Humphrys on Today), it was just as bad.

  • Graemeyh

    EM needs to start batting questions about perceived unpopularity is opinion polls more directly. Something along the lines “no one likes to be told that they are allegedly not popular – but I didn’t enter politics to be popular but to do the right thing and stand for the right things. I can only be myself and true to what I believe to be right…people must make up their own mind and opinion polls will go up and down as they will”.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Speaking about social security did you know that Liam Byrne owns a domain name and personal website:

    http://liambyrne.co.uk/

    The site allows moderated commenting but seems devoid of reader contribution. Either little Liam’s blog is an unread and unvisited Mary Celeste type of website or none of the comments made by readers passed muster as far as the moderator’s sense of propriety went. Odd. Who in their right(wing) mind could have the temerity to disagree with or be critical about anything the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has to say about anything?

    Check out the site yourself and… TRY TO COMMENT IF YOU DARE!

    Eeek.

    • $6215628

      Thanks for this it seems more about his role as Constituent m.p for Birmingham, and criticism on the Tories, than ,defending his views on welfare,

  • Nick Tesco

    I found the interview depressing to be honest. There are many arguments to be made against the likes of the bedroom tax which are both credible and make economic sense. We are very likely to see a huge rise in housing benefit costs as, due to the lack of public housing in most areas of the country, tenants are driven into the private housing sector. In many areas the results have been completely contrary to government expectations leading to a surge in demand for primary school places as people choose to move in with relatives and their empty accommodation is filled by families with young children; in our area we now are seeing overcrowded housing and too few school places. So living conditions go down, benefit costs go up and the Labour leadership continue to follow the advice of poll hanging special advisers who have never done a real job in their pampered lives.

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  • rekrab

    ATOS the new Lourdes, people go in sick and come out with a healthy cert and a job. LoL!

    • Timmo111

      Atos labours legacy for disabled people, brought in at the time the economy was booming and millionaires only paying a top rate of tax of forty pence.

  • Well Liam Byrne did say that nothing has been ruled out, Margaret Hodge and other senior Labour figures have called for a change in policy and Harriet Harman did say it is under review. We need to stop treating some universal benefits as sacred cows.

  • maz

    Well Em had better shape up and promise(and keep the promise) to abolish the bedroom tax because UKIP are starting to look very attractive! Forget the fact that it suits some to call their immigration policy racist. In a bid to survive, saving on the bedroom tax is a real vote puller.

  • Pingback: Future welfare reform – Miliband’s welfare speech « Yes Minister the Public Affairs Think Tank()

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