One loosely applied law for the rich. Another tightly monitored one for the poor. Next Monday, the government reduces the total amount of benefits families are allowed to claim. Using the Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures, 88,000 families with a quarter of a million children will have to manage on less money. A lot less: the average cut will be £260 a month. Sums that large spell eviction and homelessness for many. Independent experts expect the turmoil to be even greater.
Not so long ago, the Conservatives vowed to end child poverty. Now they are enacting laws to create not just poverty, but generations of destitution. Nor are they alone in this project. The benefits cap was brought in by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. It was endorsed by Ed Miliband’s Labour party. As acting leader last year, Harriet Harman instructed Labour MPs not to oppose the reduction of the cap. Still, the fact remains that the benefit cap was a Conservative idea.