No one believes you can raise a child decently on £3 a day, and yet the House of Commons today passed a law that will impose that hardship on youngsters across much of the south of England.
This prospect flows from a crude £26,000 cap being applied to all of a family's annual benefits, which will bite hard wherever households are large and rents are high.There's a clue there to the solutions, then...
The rhetorical logic is ensuring that benefits should never exceed typical pay, and this line has been parroted in the Sun. But there is no real logic, since the whole argument rests on wilful misunderstanding.Oh, really?
For one thing, the policy deliberately confuses average individual pay with family income. Only a truly nasty party would want to visit the sins of the fathers and mothers it deems to have too many children on the children themselves.What's 'truly nasty' is expecting everyone to give in and open their own wallets (thus depriving their own children) when these families wave their children in front of themselves like some ghastly human shield.
When are people going to realise that 'no consequences' isn't the answer?No, they have spoken the truth. You just prefer to stop up your ears...
… for large families renting privately, there will be pain across great swaths of London and the south-east. The economist and active Liberal Democrat Tim Leunig has crunched the numbers for a couple with four children paying typical rent in Tolworth, an area branded "the scrag end of Kingston Borough" by London's Evening Standard. Even assuming the youngest children share a room, after footing their rent, council tax and basic utilities out of their capped £26,000, that family would be left with less than £3 per person per day.Then move. It really is that simple.
No one can defend this position and yet, bizarrely, no mainstream politician is willing attack it.Because they know that it's suicide.
Meanwhile, Labour knows the cap is crazy but doesn't regard this as a fight to pick.There you go - even Labour have wised up! Doesn't that tell you something?
Many a concerned Lib Dem stayed silent, crossing fingers and trusting that the legion problems can be ironed out well away from the floor of the Commons.Oh, they'll grandstand, I'm sure. But they know the reality just as well as Labour.
A week after the archbishop of Canterbury warned that the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor was creeping back into our discourse, the whip hand in the debate over benefits is held by Vicky Pollard. While caricatures of welfare dependents reign unchallenged, pressing practical questions about how poor people can make ends meet are ducked.Heh! It's always amusing when the dear old 'Grauniad' turns to the unimpeachable office of the archdruid, isn't it?
Instead of a failure to speak truth unto power, we have a failure on the part of power to speak the truth about this unwearable cap.