David Cameron’s desire to cut welfare benefits is as predictable as it is appalling. There is always something deeply distasteful, not to say enraging, when a Prime Minister who has enjoyed every privilege our country has to offer seeks to reduce the meagre resources provided by the social security system to Britain’s poorest.
David Cameron’s proposal to take housing benefit away from the under 25s and his glib throw-away line that they can live with their parents, shows just how arrogant and out of touch he is. Supposing the parents are unemployed? Has he thought that it may be one rather than two parents. They, or she, may live in over-crowded conditions. Even worse, the young person may have left for personal reasons.
I am tempted to ask what planet our Prime Minister lives on when he says, “For literally millions, the passage to independence is several years living in their childhood bedroom as they save up to move out while for many others, it’s a trip to the council where they can get housing benefit at 18 or 19 – even if they’re not actively seeking work.”
On the figures from the Department of Work and Pensions which show that, out of the 385,000 under-25s claiming housing benefit, 204,000 have children, Cameron takes a predictably unsympathetic view which takes no account of the children involved. He believes it is necessary to look at the “interaction of the benefit system with the choices people make about having a family.”
I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that this housing benefit proposal and the others in the package announced yesterday seem to be Cameron’s own, not those of either the Conservative Party as a whole or the Government.
There is, of course, more. Equally appalling is the idea that people on benefit do not receive assistance for children if they have more than three. It is no exaggeration to say that this attempt to police fertility smacks of China’s one parent policy and campaigns in India to forcibly sterilise women.
These are just two items in a much longer list. Cameron is not only harking back to the Victorian dark ages when to be poor was the worst possible sin. He is also covertly targeting women. Since women bear the major responsibility for bringing up children they will be disproportionately hit if Cameron’s ideas come to fruition.
Cameron is attacking all people on benefits, branding them scroungers with seemingly no thought for the overwhelming majority who wish to work. Thanks to the policies of his Government the rate of unemployment is over eight per cent. Women have lost their jobs at a faster rate than men. Many would like to work again but are unable to find a job. That’s the stark reality not Mr Cameron’s idea that all those who claim benefits are either scroungers, feckless or both.