Bonfire of benefits - Cameron lists his own failings to explain problems

Mon, 22/06/2015 - 13:02 -- nick

The wait for the bonfire of benefits is nearing its end.

David Cameron is to make a key speech today on failings in the system, in advance of his government's big reveal of what will be lost on July 8th.

The BBC has seen an advance copy of the speech, and its audacity is breathtaking.

"When it comes to extending opportunity - there is a right track and a wrong track," he will say.

"The right track is to recognise the causes of stalled social mobility and a lack of economic opportunity. Family breakdown. Debt. Addiction. Poor schools. Lack of skills. Unemployment. People capable of work, written off to a lifetime on benefits."

Let's look at the issues identified by Cameron, the Old Etonian who believes in social mobility so greatly that more than half of his new cabinet went to private school.

Family breakdown - the coalition cut funding hugely to local authorities, and this fed through to problems with social services for families.

Debt - some of the Tory party's top donors, including Henry Angest and Adrian Beecroft, own big stakes in Wonga and other high cost loan companies, and it has been suggested that this is why the coalition did so little to curb the interest rates charged by these lenders.

Addiction - more than half of local authorities were forced to cut residential treatment programmes because the coalition reduced their central grants, according to the BBC.

Poor schools - Cameron's free school programme has ended the need for minimum qualifications for teachers.

Lack of skills - this year the adult skills budget will be cut by another 11% having seen reductions in previous years.

Unemployment - the experience of unemployment under the coalition has been one of hugely increasing sanctions to more than one million per year, and decreasing help to find work from the government's jobcentres.

It takes some audacity to create or contribute to this raft of problems and then turn around and point at it to justify even more benefit cuts, cuts that will only worsen poverty for blameless people who are the victims of a system that is becoming more and more unequal as a direct result of government policies.

Cameron is that audacious, and he is that shameless, but anyone with even the most passing experience of this country's political landscape will know where to point the finger of blame for the breakdown in many people's lives.