Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tory MPs defend benefit claimants in London

It comes to something when you look to the Conservatives to defend the poor in our society.

Over the weekend, we had Nick Clegg defending the cuts to Housing Benefit, telling us of the the moral pain that he had been through when deciding to back measures that will tear apart families and take children away from schools. This from the man who claimed over £23,000 from the additional costs allowance, who thought nothing of charging the costs of his gardener to the taxpayer, but finds it morally difficult to cut spending on people. He does feel your pain though - he's had to stop shopping with Ocado.

Last night, it emerged that some of London's Tory MPs have met to express their concern over the plans to slash benefit in the capital and put thousands at risk of eviction and removal to cheap accommodation outside the city. They have asked for a delay in implementation or for some transitional relief for those affected.

These shifts will have a profound effect on the areas used to decant the unwanted and undeserving poor. The councils will not have sufficient provision to educate the children removed from the city and other services will simply lag well behind the demand. It could be even worse, as local authorities will be given powers to adjust terms under which council tax benefit is paid - potentially removing all but the very poorest from its protection.

Who is speaking in the heart of government for the 14,000 people likely to be affected in Birmingham? Andrew Mitchell? John Hemming? Anyone care?

Nick Clegg claims to have searched his conscience. Perhaps he left it on his desert island.

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