Meanwhile, Tory Treasury spokesman Philip Hammond blasted ‘superficially attractive thinking about means testing benefits that go to people who apparently don’t need them, but once you start introducing means testing you get perverse incentives’. Anybody fancy a game of ’spot the progressive’?
Less than a year later, coalition thinking is drifting in the opposite direction, with winter fuel allowance and child benefit seen as possible victims of the October spending review.
Labour’s work and pensions spokeswoman Yvette Cooper has been quick to condemn the government’s ‘shocking attack’ on OAPs, and rightly so. But it is a shocking attack that Labour itself was prepared to contemplate less than 12 months ago.
The fact of the matter is this: there is a huge welfare dependency in this country. Means testing is simply a way in which the welfare dependency is increased. I would far rather everyone had a basic citizen's income and a simple tax relief taper, something that could so easily be implemented today.
But of course, that wouldn't keep the fucking DWP in fucking jobs, would it?