Wednesday, April 03, 2013

UK Chancellor defends welfare reform

The UK Chancellor is the equivalent of our Finance Minister. A report from today's Scotsman:

GEORGE Osborne yesterday attacked critics of the UK government’s welfare reform claiming they were talking “ill-informed rubbish” as he defended his controversial policies.
The Chancellor said the welfare system was “fundamentally broken” and he was “proud” of the stance being taken by the government, which has come in for severe criticism for introducing such measures as the “bedroom tax”.
Speaking at a Morrisons’ distribution depot in Kent, Mr Osborne also defended the decision to cut tax for higher earners by slashing the top rate.
“In a modern, global economy where people can move anywhere in the world, you cannot have a top rate of tax that discourages people from living here, from setting up businesses here, investing here, creating jobs here.”
His speech provoked a furious backlash in Scotland where the SNP claimed 105,000 households will be £600 a year worse off as a result of the changes.
But Mr Osborne said: “Those who campaign against a cap on benefits for families who aren’t working are completely out of touch with how the millions of working families, who pay the taxes to fund these benefits, feel about this.
“I’m proud of what we’re doing to restore some common sense and control on costs. In recent days we have heard a lot of, frankly, ill-informed rubbish about these welfare reforms.
“Some have said it’s the end of the welfare state. That is shrill, headline-seeking nonsense. I will tell you what is true. Taxpayers don’t think the welfare state works properly anymore.”
Mr Osborne said the system had not only become unaffordable, it was now so complicated people were better off on the dole rather than going to work.
“These vested interests always complain, with depressingly predictable outrage, about every change to a system which is failing. I want to take the argument to them,” he said.
“Because defending every line item of welfare spending isn’t credible in the current economic environment. Because defending benefits that trap people in poverty and penalise work is defending the indefensible.
“The benefit system is broken; it penalises those who try to do the right thing; and the British people badly want it fixed.”

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