Caerphilly MP Wayne David’s Blog: May 28
Are we all in this together?
The Prime Minister is fond of saying that “we are all in this together”. By which he means that in these difficult economic times everyone must share the burden. But it is becoming ever more clear that this is not what is happening.
A few weeks ago, for example, we had the Budget. One of the main things in the Budget was a reduction in the tax rate for top earners from 50% to 45%. In other words if you are fortunate enough to earn £150,000 or more, you will have had a reduction in the tax you pay. In Wales there are only 4,000 in this fortunate category and in Caerphilly, I suspect that there are no more than half a dozen.
In contrast, by 2015 nearly 300,000 people will lose almost £100 a week due to cuts in the Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). At the end of April, the Government introduced changes which are already having a huge impact on many people in the Caerphilly area.
From the end of April, the Government has limited the Contributory Allowance to just 365 days. After one year an individual will lose their ESA if their partner works more than 24 hours a week, even when they continue to be assessed as being too ill to work. The Government is introducing this as part of a “rolling programme”, so that not everyone is being hit at the same time, but hit they will be.
This is, in my view, totally unfair. It marks the end of the welfare state principle based on William Beveridge’s idea that social security was “first and foremost a plan of insurance – of giving and return for contributions up to subsistence levels”. It is the end of the “something for something” welfare state.
Already I have had a number of constituents coming to my advice surgery incensed that their benefit has been cut even though they are clearly unfit to work.
They are right to be angry. Nothing demonstrates to me better that this Government is the government of the few and not the many.
Labour MP for Caerphilly