Is Ed Miliband ‘coming out’ ? “I would have cut benefits bill, not benefits themselves” he tells the FT

Sunny Hundal
Sunny Hundal


Coming out as the love that dare not speak its name?

The ‘S’ word?



By Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy 3:22 pm – January 17th 2013



In an interview with the Financial Times today, Ed Miliband takes the correct position on welfare changes writes Sunny Hundal

He told the FT that “universal benefits are part of the badge of citizenship”, otherwise it undermines the welfare state.

I think there is a sort of little truth here lurking in this which I don’t think has properly been exposed which is, probably is part of the long-term strategy of the Tory right to undermine the welfare state,” he told us. “They think we need to turn it into a service just for the poorest. And, then, as part of that strategy, we can undermine support for it?

But if you are trying to maintain universal benefits, says the FT’s Jim Pickard, then your welfare bill balloons because you have to pay them out for the relatively wealthier as well as the poorest.

So how would you cut welfare, asks the FT?

I don’t want to be cutting benefits, I want to be cutting the benefit bill.

Good, and an important point to make.

The best way to cut the benefits bill is to focus on lowering unemployment rather than focusing on austerity.

The bizarre thing is, the FT’s Jim Pickard seems to believe there was nothing in the government’s power to influence employment. But this can be refuted.

1) The government could have resisted axing hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs.

2) The government could have considered a stimulus (Obama’s stimulus created over a million jobs) too.

3) It could have stopped hyping austerity, which led to a steep drop in consumer confidence.

4) As some have pointed out on Twitter, building housing would have also helped: it would have stimulated economy while reducing housing benefits bill.

All these measures would have reduced the welfare bill much more than the current punitive cuts, which have been mostly aimed at disabled people and the unemployed.

See also: Jan 16th 2013 Len McCluskey’s of UNITE’s finest speech ~ The Ralph Miliband Lecture London School of Economics


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