Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Conference Politics Trips Up Cameron

Most people would have expected Eleanor Rathbone, the pioneer of Family Allowances, to object to the removal of child allowance from higher tax bracket earners, but I suspect Cameron and Osborne, both immensely shrewd politicians, underestimated the backlash against their measure. The rightwing press is up in arms against the damage to 'middle income' families and the anomaly whereby a family with two earners under £44K will escape the cut while a family with only one £44K earner will not.

These extremely gifted but still young politicians have learnt a lesson about announcing policy to their conference. Some 'goodies' are required to ignite the automatic Tory applause machine, but you have to be sure they are 'good' and are likely to be well received. This announcement, frankly, would have gone down better at either of the other conferences. Middle Britain, aghast at how much of their taxes are absorbed by the 5m on benefits, have tended to regard chld allowance as useful payback. Some families save it to use for holidays; most families, even earning up to £50K, strain their financial limits so this cut really hurts.

Personally I was fairly happy with it. I don't believe in universal benefits; this is an outdated concept, even if it does involve the 'sharp elbowed' middle classes in the welfare state. If we have to save shed loads of public expenditure, which we do, then pruning a benefit accruing to those on twice the average income seems quite sensible to me. However, the coalition is facing a cachophany of compalint right now which it could wewll do without. In a couple of weeks the real cuts will be announced. If these protests are generated by a small and arguably fair economy, I shudder to think what lies in store for this government.

I wonder if Cameron had said that DLA for the disabled would be scrapped how many people would have even bothered to write a single article on blogs, some I suspect would have said they only use it for holidays.

But hell somebody loses money who earn £44,000 and my god the earth is shaking, how many screamed when Brown said thats it for income support, it's finished, I do not remember much on here about it.

But you hit the middle Rich and the earth is shaking....
What gets up my nose was yesterday Ms Cooper, who had the nerve to send me an email asking me to think hard about voting Labour because the Tories would attack the disabled and sick. Said yesterday Labour had looked at this option of stopping child benefits, but the cost was so great, so if the cost had not been great Labour would have done the same.

Labour ended the universal benefit of income support which was the life blood of the poorest in society, not a bloody word from hardly anyone, when Labours Brown the worse leader of a Labour government, then told us he was going to stop DLA for the disabled , hardly a word , but yes OK the Tories and some Labour MP's moaned, making Lard ass change his mind but it was to late, the damage had been done.

You now have Miliband with his New Generation of Newer Labour, when are these people going to realize what we need in the UK is a Labour party, not new or newer or anything else.

But I suppose we live in a word of re branding.
Am in two minds over child benefit. Any benefit cut is good, and the country needs the money. That said, 44k a year is not a lot of money and a lot of these people are not as well off as you think(by the time they pay tax, a mortgage and run a car to their jobs - remember they work, unlike so many who claim - never mind fund a pension). I sympathise with them. It'll be very hard for middle class mothers to stay at home with their children, which is sad, because only the middle classes have prevented this country becoming a derelict before now.

However, for me, the key point is this. Removing child benefit from the middle class will strike at support for the welfare state, and make it easier to advocate wholesale and serious cuts to benefits in general. This is of course a good thing. Although this measure was the headline, there have been lots of other good proposals to limit the scale of benefits claimed by those families who don't work. This government is showing azeal to cut welfare that I have never seen before...decent people losing their child benefit should be reassured by that.
A recent question asked by Yougov -
"In principle, do you support or oppose limiting child benefit so that people with high incomes do not receive it ?"
83% supported the principle. Read the dead tree press & you would think the world was coming to an end.Perhaps something to do with the fact that headline writers in metropolitan media all earn in excess of £44K ?

Just sayin', thats all.
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