In the Independent, Owen James eviscerates Osborne’s benefit trap for Labour exposing it as a piece of class war and “vile”. He points out that the economy is still in a worse state than in 2008, the level of debt is over double the level in the 2008, the deficit for this financial year is £100bn higher than planned and that the Government’s own tame forecaster, the Office of Budgetary Responsibility is now predicting a decade of lost growth; they have massively reduced their growth forecast but are still seen as too optimistic by many independent commentators. The economics and juvenile politics is also exposed in a David Blanchflower article, “The Bullingdon Chancellor: why George Osborne is a very uncivil, as well as useless, Chancellor”
The cut in benefits is rightly described as vile. The Tories want to tell a “Strivers vs. Skivers” story, despite the fact that many benefit claimants work, have recently done so, or want to work, James states,
“That a gang of multimillionaire class warriors is intentionally attempting to turn poor people against each other for political advantage is as shameful as the often grubby world of politics gets.”
Much of what’s left of the benefit system is now subsidising landlords and exploitative businesses, and other proposals in the “Autumn Statement” protect business profits. Let’s not forget that in the 2012 Budget, they reduced the highest rate of tax from 50% to 45%, a benefit to those “earning” over £150,000.
James argues that the Parliamentary Labour Party needs to take them on and examines the proponents and opposition to this. I agree … what they propose is wrong and they made a mistake in framing the public vs. private wages argument, they have done so again.
This is a brilliantly written, well researched article; wish I had written it.