January 3, 2012

NO, WE'RE MORE THATCHERITE!:

Labour urges radical rethink on welfare: Benefits system has lost connection with contributory principles, says shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne (Patrick Wintour, 1/02/12, guardian.co.uk)

In a significant redrawing of Labour's position on welfare, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, on Tuesday argues that the ballooning of the system has provided support that is unearned, and mislaid the original ideal of providing help to those that contribute.

Heralding a series of speeches over the next few months designed to mark out new territory for Labour, Byrne claims the party must recast the welfare state to meet the original intentions of its founder, William Beveridge.

In an article for the Guardian marking the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report, Byrne identifies the spiralling housing benefit budget, benefits for long-term unemployment, and the lack of proper incentives to reward responsible long-term savers as three key flaws in the current welfare state. He writes: "Beveridge would scarcely believe that housing benefit alone is costing the country over £20bn a year. That is simply too high."

He insists the party needs fresh thinking, adding: "One more heave behind our old agenda won't do." As part of that rethink, he also hints that he would like to see the contributory principle once again restored as a building block of the welfare state so there is a clearer link between what people put in and what they receive.

Byrne is already facing resistance from some in the party, who are hopeful that Ed Miliband's leadership would resist criticism of welfare claimants and instead focus solely on opposing the cuts being imposed by the Conservatives.

The path to power in the Anglosphere leads every party down the same trail, to the Third Way.

Posted by at January 3, 2012 2:31 PM
  

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