Posts Tagged ‘Liam Bryne’

Labour is for the workers; not those avoiding work

04/01/2012, 07:30:37 AM

by Peter Watt

Gulp, here goes. I think that if the reports that Liam Byrne, with the full support of Ed Miliband, is to shortly announce a change in approach to benefits policy are correct, then he is spot on.

Over the last 30 years Labour has moved from being seen as a party that supports labour, working people, to being seen as a party of welfare dependency supporting those who do not work. It may be uncomfortable to say it, but it is certainly held to be true by millions of voters. It’s not hard to see why. So you are struggling to make ends meet, balance work and home, and life feels tough. You play by the rules, pay your taxes and yet you can’t afford to fill the car up anymore. Then you will understandably find it galling that some people seem to be able get by whilst choosing not to work, never mind working hard, don’t pay any tax and still get their slice of the growing welfare cake. Hell, that cake is paid for from your tax, and the amount of tax you’re paying just keeps going up.

There is of course some truth in how disgruntled voters feel. The number of those in receipt of welfare payments has risen steadily over the last few decades. While it was not all the result of Labour policy, we certainly played our part. And here is the dilemma for Labour. You could argue that it is a sign of our success that we have increased the number of benefits available to poorer members of society. That would certainly reflect one strand of thought within the party. But to argue this is all about playing to our own consciences.


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