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Showing posts from June, 2015

Welfare 'dependency' - cart before the horse?

A new report published today by the right-wing think tank Centre for Policy Studies presents some interesting statistics on 'welfare dependency'. In a new  Economic Bulletin ,  Adam Memon, Head of Economic Research reveals that  51.5% of households still receive more from the state than they pay in tax .   The report also shows that:   Net dependency of the middle fifth of households has fallen by 27% since 2010/11.   The poorest are still suffering from high taxes.   Deeper welfare reform is needed to reduce dependency and raise incomes.   Inequality is now lower than at any time under New Labour. The report draws its statistics from the office for National Statistics.  You might think then that this is an 'objective' assessment.  But it requires a note of caution, not about the statistics themselves, but the assumptions.  Adam Memon, the report author says:   “Welfare dependency is an economically destructive phenomenon which tears at Britain’s social

We need a new narrative on social justice

When my interest in politics blossomed in the 1960s it was driven by a gut instinct that there was something fundamentally wrong with a society predicated on  vast inequalities not just in the distribution of wealth but also of opportunities. The society in which I grew up was palpably unfair.  Much has changed since, but the vast inequalities of opportunity persist.  The Labour party must once again find a clear voice to address poverty and inequalities of opportunity. Social justice must once again form the core of what Labour is about Labour is nothing if it is not a crucial part of the movement that challenges that unfairness, or as Harold Wilson put it a 'crusade' against poverty.  But whilst the problems are old, old solutions will no longer work - not least because voters won't accept them. A simplistic message of tax and spend is not one voters will support.  This presents a dilemma for Labour, and whoever wins the leadership election will have to address this co