The look of buoyant glee on George Osbourne’s face these days resembles a teenager finding out what happens when he puts his hands down his pants.
The country has become Osbourne’s, again and again, riven by the clear Tory message that the economy must run in surplus to be healthy and competitive. Even a law will be passed to enshrine a budget surplus in UK policy.
We should be critical of this as it will enable any future government to do anything in the name of economic surplus.
Kinda like what the Conservatives are doing in the short length of time since they won the marginal majority in GE15.
In my troubles, I haven’t forgotten that there’s an emergency summer budget on July 8th and in this the sick, ill and disabled of the UK will finally hear the answer to the question on all of our lips:
“So where exactly will the 12bn welfare cuts fall, Mr O?”
As we don’t know the answer to this, despite many journalists and commentators attempting to wrangle the truth from politicians, I decided to review what’s on the first page of Google search results when you type in the search term: “12 billion welfare cuts.”
What came back was interesting. So much so I thought I’d post some examples here.
Here’s an article from Spy Joe welfare writes. He argues that the cuts are to ‘welfare’ and not to ‘welfare benefits.’ It’s a very interesting article and knocks some of the assumptions us in the disabled community are making. I learned a lot through reading it, even if it’s optimism seems out of touch with the fear we are experiencing.
The Telegraph is asking the question: “How will the Conservatives handle welfare spending?” This is an important question because welfare is broad, not only affecting the sick, ill and disabled, but those with children, pensioners and our national insurance contributions for instance.
ITV asked a similar question. Here’s their take on the concern that people are experiencing about where the cuts will fall.
The Independent proves that the title of their newspaper is very much about non- influential party politics that influences other publications. It has published an article about why the poor are worried that Ian Duncan Smith has been put in charge of welfare reform. They include a list of decisions he could make to carry forward those reforms. They will have a budgetary impact, of course.
The daily Mirror, perhaps closest to my own imagination and fears about the July 8th budget, has produced a short list of who could be affected. It’s hit list of the poor and needy and it’s brevity makes for starkly honest reading.
The Economist is not a publication that I read that often, because I’ve assumed in the past its content will go over my head. Since the election I’ve read it more and more often. It isn’t complex and draws me into arguments that I understand better now.
“Celebrate, then cut,” they say.
Finally the excellent and pioneering Disability New Service published this article prior to the election and it still sits in the first page of Google’s search results. It says what we dimly knew then and are certain of now – that the cuts are a-coming.
This is quite the collection of opinion about something George Osbourne and Ian Duncan Smith must already know in detail. It is inconceivable that so near to July 8th, there aren’t strong preferences and indications that are already being worked through at Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street.
Thank you for trying to answer this question on our behalves, Journalists. After all we haven’t got the truth from the General Election hustings or afterwards, not from questions in the House Of Commons or questions you are no doubt asking now.
Is anyone in the Civil Service or the Department Of Work and Pensions reading this?
Think about the fact that no-one is safe from these cuts. Think about whether if you lose your job you’ll be safe within the welfare system.
How will the national insurance contributions you paid into the welfare state be used to help you if the axe falls on you….
Then take your pick of publication from the list above, get that confidential memo, copy it and finally, for all of us, make that call.
© Lindy 2015