Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Labour should improve the child benefit cuts, not oppose them

This time next week, Ed Miliband will make his debut as Leader of the Opposition at Prime Minister's Questions.

I wonder if the child benefit fiasco presents an opportunity.

Over the next week, Labour's team could do a quick piece of policy work refining the government's proposals to protect the people who are hit hardest by Osborne's proposals and remove the anomalies where some families on £80,000 will get the benefits and others on £45,000 won't.

Then at PMQs, Ed could ask Cameron whether he would agree to alter his policies to protect middle earners by accepting Labour's improvements. If Cameron refuses, he looks like he is putting party politics ahead of sensible policies and doing what's right for middle income families. If he accepts, it makes it much harder to claim that Labour is just opposing every cut and won't set out alternatives.

I think this is a better option politically than pledging to reverse these cuts and flying the flag for universalism. Come 2015 or whenever the next election is, Labour isn't going to go into the election pledging to spend £1 billion on giving cash handouts to the richest 15% of families, and in a fortnight there are £12 billion in welfare cuts plus untold billions more in cutting public services which will be higher priorities to oppose and pledge to reverse.


At 10:07 pm , Blogger MatGB said...

I pretty much agree with this. If the cut goes through as planned and announced, then it's stupid and badly worked out.

But there's no way after a fw years of it being gone that LAbour could afford to bring it back as a pledge, ergo an alternative policy would be better. And if it's well thought through and worked out, I suspect a fair few LD MPs (as well as Tories like David Davis) would be tempted to push for it.

The notional rationale for the cut, that of using the money to pay for IDSs reforms, is fine, and I hope those reforms are as radical and effective as the rhetoric says (Clegg's certainly keen on them, and having talked to him about it briefly it shoudl be good) means my normal objection to removal of unversality is ameliorated somewhat, the unversal credit is a different sort of universal.

But the daft way it's implemented just seems a bit strange and very badly thought through.

At 7:54 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labour did this already remember the 10p tax so called fiasco, so yes I guess labour will say they will reverse it.

But when these benefits came in, wages for the middle class was low very low, but hell how can we be given people on £44,000 benefits.

Then again one look at labour and Brown, made up my mind to pack up my membership, once Brown started on about his vision, what he will do he is his own man, and you could see the fear, he did not know what to do. Then he came out with removing DLA from the most vulnerable, and it's labour medicals which are causing massive concern even within the Tories, man with no hands get asked can you lift a cup with your stumps, when he says yes he is told your able to work.

Chap with Parkinson's and triple bye pass, told come on your fine.

problem for Labour is proving to people it has something else to offer not just a fag end Tory party.

But then again who was it that ended income support the life blood of the Welfare state, New labour Labour call it what you like.

What would happen if Labour came to power and said OK lets just carry on with the Tory cuts, which I suspect they would do.

So in the end as sad as it is the difference between labour and Tory is personalities labour not got much at the moment



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