Welfare – caps and traps
One former Labour cabinet minister said he’d be looking very carefully tonight at the size and make-up of Labour’s rebellion on the welfare trap (sorry, “cap”) devised by George Osborne. It will be a good indicator, he said, of just how much of Ed Balls’ zero-based spending review a Labour government with a slim majority or no majority at all could expect to get passed.
One veteran of the Brown regime, which wasn’t above setting a few “traps” of its own writes here on the Resolution Foundation website about how you shouldn’t assume a cap or legislated target is quite as fixed or sacrosanct as the name suggests.
On the BBC’s Today Programme, Evan Davis pursued a similar argument with Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), pressing him on whether the statutory poverty target passed by Labour and signed up to by the Tories was worth the paper it was written on.
IDS repeatedly cited Labour’s opposition to the spare room subsidy as proof they weren’t serious about the cap as they hadn’t simultaneously identified £450m in savings to make good the cancelled cut. Labour is convinced when the numbers are truly known for adjustments and real net savings the spare room subsidy will be shown to have saved not a penny.
With a statement on G7/EU council by David Cameron after Prime Minister’s Questions, the welfare vote should come around 3.30pm.
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