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Welfare Reform Bill: why won’t anybody say it’s wrong in principle?

So many of London’s £1m-plus houses are occupied by workshy immigrant families of ten that whole swathes of Maida Vale have been transformed into vast welfare ghettoes, where Afsoomali has become the dominant spoken language on street after street.

That, plus I understand that huge numbers of City Boys have jacked in all that private equity malarkey because, let’s face it, most of them are better off on the sick.

As abuses such as these so conclusively underline, the case for reform Britain’s archaic benefit system is open and shut. How else can it be that not a single mainstream politician has managed to come out and state openly that Iain Duncan Smith’s call for a £26,000 benefit cap is entirely unjustified?

I guess the sheer intuitive populist appeal of the notion that nobody on benefits should pull down more than the average wedge for a full week’s graft seemingly makes the idea almost impossible to oppose.

The rejoinder of ‘Aha! So, you’d allow benefit scroungers unlimited cash …’ appears so utterly knockdown. As Oliver Wright points out in the Independent, only 9% of voters have expressed opposition to the plan. Some 36% think that the cap should be set far lower, at just £20,000.

Thus even the heads of voluntary sector do-gooder outfits I heard on the radio this morning were reduced to calling for tinkering round the edges, which they hope will be delivered by a coalition of bishops and renegade Lib Dem peers in the Lords tonight.

Meanwhile, Labour seems at sixes and sevens. It isn’t going to vote against the cap, although if we are lucky, it might just mumble some objections while it backs it.

But let’s just look at the facts here. The government’s own figures indicate that 100,000 children will be pushed below poverty line on account of these changes.

Even communities secretary Eric Pickles privately admits that 20,000 will be made homeless by the proposals. Far from saving any money, local government will actually end up out of pocket.

In other words, what we seem to have here is actually a half-arsed, spiteful and misguided piece of legislation, which will designedly cut living standards of some of Britain’s poorest people (including many of the disabled) to score brownie points with the Daily Mail.

I’m sure those in the firing line will be grateful for any concessions that are secured tonight. But the truth is that the Welfare Reform Bill is wrong. In principle. And no political party dares to say it.

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