The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill proposes that benefits should only be raised by 1% over the next three years. Tomorrow (21 January) the Bill will reach the Committee of the whole House, Report stage and get a third reading. Unless the ghost of William Beveridge descends on Parliament tomorrow it is a near certainty that the Bill will be voted through.
This does not stop me from launching my campaign 'To Keep Your Blinds Closed' tomorrow in protests against the injustices of this Bill.
George Osborne said: "It is unfair that a person leaves their home early in the morning and they pull the door behind them and they are going to do their job and they look at their next-door neighbour, the blinds are down and that family is living a life on benefits. That is unfair as well and we are going to tackle that as part of tackling this country's economic problems.'
I know from experience that if your neighbour has their blinds closed it does not mean that they are on welfare and lazy. My neighbour works night shifts and when I go to school in the morning his blinds are closed. Ironically, the family on benefits who live on the other side have their blinds up quite early. Please click on this link for more options on why blinds could be closed. How can blinds define the deserving from the undeserving and the strivers from the skivers? I detest the fact that an ordinary household item like blinds is being used to demonise people on welfare.
It is children and the disabled who will suffer from this politics of cruelty. According to The Children's Society, 11.6 million children will be affected by the 1% cap. As a specific example, a couple with two children, one earner who is a primary school teacher earning £600 per week will lose £424 a year by 2015. The Child Poverty Action Group states that the Up-Rating Bill will push 200, 000 more children into poverty. Accumulatively, the welfare cuts will push 1 MILLION more children into poverty by 2020.
People with disabilities already are suffering from having to go through work capability assessments (WCA) and having to face ATOS who have all the grace and sympathies of Scrooge before his transformation. According to a report, 3.6 million people claiming disability benefits will be worse off by £9 billion from 2010 to 2015. I am constantly saddened by stories of how disabled people are treated by ATOS and DWP and the closures of Remploy which took work away from the disabled.
The politics and wellbeing of children and the disabled who are the most vulnerable people in our society transcend the political games to cut the size of the state.