Tuesday, September 01, 2009

In a dream of Hungarian lanterns...

Just when you begin to think that this Government has reached rock bottom, they manage to find just that little bit extra. One might almost compare this administration to a beached squid, desperately thrashing the air with its tentacles in an attempt to find a purchase.

This week, the tentacle marked 'tough on the poor' has attempted to find its mark, with a proposal to end the arrangement where claimants who negotiate a rent which is less than the level of housing benefit can keep the difference up to £15 per week. Yes, it does mean that £150 million of current expenditure can be trimmed, theoretically at least. However, it sends out a clear message to one group who should be fairly loyal supporters of this Government - that they can be sacrificed in the hope that it might impressed some of those who have gone elsewhere with their votes.

There is little need to rehearse the arguments as to why this will not actually save £150 million, loss of incentive to negotiate a lower rent, the greed of some private landlords are but two. Yet the greatest reason to worry if you are a Labour MP with a majority of less than 8,000 is that your leadership seem determined to take you with them.

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