Tuesday, 8 January 2013

As we bid farewell to the welfare state, it's time to get on board with the latest development in lefty anger: "Coalition rage"

After reading Aditya Chakrabortty's brilliant obituary for the welfare state in today's Guardian, I coined a new term: "Coalition rage". It's that seething, uncontrollable anger you feel when you read about yet another example of the Government's wanton disregard for Britain's most vulnerable.

I initially scoffed when I heard people earning £55,000 boo-hooing about the loss of their child benefit - or part of it, at any rate - but I actually think Chakrabortty is right to say that removing the benefit from Britain's richest has two negative effects. Firstly, it turns it into something that can be dismissed as "for the poor". And that means only one thing: that it can be reduced further in the future without raising the ire of pushy middle-class parents.

He also points to interesting research in the piece which backs the idea universal benefits (i.e. benefits that everyone gets, regardless of income) are more efficient and actually cheaper than means-tested ones.

Food for thought.

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