Sunday, January 06, 2013

Blind on welfare

You may remember George Osborne explaining his method for identifying his next victims:

Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits?

But here’s the thing: in “the dark hours of the early morning”, aren’t most of us still asleep? To get to work for 9, I don’t need to wake up until 7.30 (although I have curtains rather than blinds – I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes).

And this symbolises Osborne’s bigger misjudgement. His decision to uprate most working-age benefits by 1% a year for three years – a real-terms cut – was supposed to show the government on the side of the strivers not the skivers, the workers not the shirkers, the hard-grinders not the closed-blinders.

But in fact, most of those hit by the policy are in work, having their low incomes supplemented by tax credits and the like. Whatever kind of drapery they have.

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