Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cullen wouldn't have linked benefits to wages

Indexing benefits to wages is setting a precedent. They've been indexed to inflation since 2001 but this move has always been resisted.

For many people the margin between income from a benefit and income from work is a cost they are prepared to pay. Fix that margin and they will always be prepared to pay it. Increase the margin and work becomes attractive.

The previous Labour government understood this.

 "...it is desirable to create a margin between being dependent on a benefit and being in employment....
The Labour Party isn’t the party that says living on a benefit is a preferred lifestyle. Its position has always been that the benefit system is a safety net for those who are unavoidably unable to participate in employment. From its history, the Labour Party has always been about people in employment."
Michael Cullen, 2008

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