Thursday, 19 August 2010


The consequences of the IDS and welfare reform deal has been picked up by the press with the expected indignation rampant.  It will be the first of many internal and external bumps as the ConDem government wrestle with the budget problem.  Locally it should be remembered that issues like the winter fuel payments would have a differential impact because of our higher levels of fuel poverty.

Besides the immediacy of the financial issues, the undermining of the universal principle holds a long-term threat to the welfare system through an possible attitudinal shift - the less people who benefit the expectation is a less generous system and more opposition to the system. So no doubt Labour will claim this is the Tories aim with the Lib Dems selling out on it.

The Coalition have stepped up their attacks upon Labour in terms of the blame game but they probably need to avoid claiming ignorance of the scale of the deficit on this one.  It probably won't wash. In his speech on political reforms Clegg kept pointing out the failure of Labour to deliver on their promised reforms.  Perhaps the approach on this issue should be the same - the best time to reform the welfare system was during an economic and jobs boom - Labour had it and did nothing.  Now the Coalition is left with having to do it in very difficult circumstances.

1 comment:

Dilettante said...

Universal benefits surely isn't the point - benefits are help for those who need help, not entitlements.