Who benefits from demonising the poor?
In an interview with The Observer, LibDem MP Sarah Teather attacks the governments welfare benefit cuts, due in April 2013.
She suggests that the benefit cap is “immoral” and “social divisive.” Agreed.
So why are the Liberal Democrats supporting this government? Sarah Teather suggests that Nick Clegg has done a good job in limiting the cuts but this seems to contradict her view that the cuts will have a devastating impact.
The most telling, and disturbing comment in her interview is:
” the primary motive behind the policy,[cap on benefits] which has strong public support, was a desire to court popularity by unfairly demonising the poor.”
What has public support is an attack on scroungers. An attack that has very little basis in fact. There will always be scroungers but these are few compared to those who rely on benefits because their wages are too low and their rents too high. There is only public support for benefit caps because the narrative “all benefit claimants are scroungers” has been perpetuated by ALL the major parties. (See previous post)
Tucked away in the “cash” section of the Observer is an article on a new investment fund aimed at making more properties available in London at an affordable rent. Tucked away in this article is the statistic that only 1% of properties to rent are available to people on benefits and that this will get worse from April 2013.
No one within the political mainstream seems to want to address this by suggesting we bring back some form of rent control- the narrative on all sides is that we must cut public spending by attacking the poorest in our society.
Labour have apparently embraced the Living Wage- a courageous statement that they will tackle high rents would be the obvious next step to making this a fairer country.