Posts Tagged ‘skivers’

Forget strivers vs skivers, it’s the uncosted spending that will hurt Labour on welfare

09/01/2013, 07:00:51 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Yesterday Labour voted against the welfare uprating bill after a debate in the House of Commons dominated by the four horseman of the welfare apocalypse, “scrounger,” “shirker,” “striver” and “skiver.”

These are highly charged, emotive terms, laden with implicit meaning. The focus of the debate in the run up to the vote has been on the values inherent in these words. The Tories are slapping a tax on strivers. No, Labour wants to sign a blank cheque for scroungers. Back and forth it has raged.

But amidst the sound and light about who was actually on the side of the hard working majority, the real impact on voter perceptions, and damage to Labour, has received comparatively little attention. Only yesterday, as the Tories rowed back from the sharper exigencies of their scrounger rhetoric did they alight on the most pointed attack on Labour.

Voters were already pretty clear that Labour will by and large try to protect benefits for the less well-off while the Tories are tougher on cheats. The values debate will not have altered this perception, except maybe to entrench it for both sides: the Tories cut with too much relish and Labour is more likely to fall for a hard luck story.

The one incontrovertible fact of Labour’s vote against the welfare uprating bill is that the party has now backed higher spending on benefits than the government.


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