The Labour Party accuse the Tories of using the announcement of the Royal Engagement as cover for sneaking out bad news on the benefits freeze …
That would be the same Labour Party that on the Friday before the August Bank Holiday weekend sneaked out its own announcement that, in Government, it was going to maintain, indefinitely, the benefits freeze?
Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said it showed the prime minister has “failed to make good on her promise to help those struggling to get by, at a time when Britain is facing an unprecedented two lost decades of earnings growth”.
“By continuing to freeze working-age benefits when inflation is soaring, the government is subjecting 10.5 million households to an average cut of £450 a year,” she said.
“The government should end the freeze on social security to support those with the least in our society and lift people out of poverty.”
On a number of occasions during the 2017 General Election Campaign both Emily Thornberry and Barry Gardiner said that Labour in Government would not be able to afford to end the benefits freeze and the benefit cap.
Thornberry and Gardiner are, like Debbie Abrahams, members of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. They were all appointed by Jeremy Corbyn.
The same Jeremy Corbyn who, it appears, had not read the Labour Manifesto that he enthusiastically endorsed during the General Election Campaign:
On the Friday before the August 2017 Bank Holiday Weekend, Labour slipped out a statement, in Jeremy Corbyn’s name and in his own words, stating that:
“Labour will take a different approach to our social security system, which under the Tories is failing our pensioners, the working poor, and disabled people,” Corbyn is expected to say.
“We will lift the freeze on social security, using part of the billions we set aside for reform in our costed manifesto, by recycling social security savings made by introducing a real living wage of £10 an hour, and by building the affordable homes we need,” Corbyn is expected to say at a rally in Coatbridge in Glasgow.
People, like Jeremy Corbyn, used to mock Gordon Brown for using the phrase “when resources allow”.
Let us unpack those two paragraphs.
Firstly, how has our Social Security system failed most pensioners? Labour does plan to maintain, come what may, the (State) Pension Triple Lock. The Pension Triple Lock that benefits the most the majority of pensioners, who are all doing very nicely as Jeremy Corbyn well knows:
Secondly, “we will lift the freeze on social security … by recycling social security savings made by introducing a real living wage of £10 an hour, and by building the affordable homes …”. The benefits freeze will not end until savings are made elsewhere in the Social Security budget:
The largest amount of the Social Security budget is spent on pensioners. They receive the State Pension and Pension Credit as well as a proportion of almost all the other categories of benefit apart from Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The benefits freeze will not end until resources allow actually means until that element of the Social Security budget not spent on pensioners is squeezed as much, if not more than the Conservatives are doing now.
The ongoing pain and misery of Conservative austerity, but with an inane grin and a beardy weirdie saying he really understands the perverse effects of the benefit cap, has surely got to be worth it to enact universal free university tuition for mostly white, mostly middle and upper class youth, has it not?
To enact universal free university tuition not when resources allow, but as Jeremy Corbyn’s first act on Labour’s first full day in Government.