A Tory scheme for stopping the jobless from frittering money on stuff like Sky TV
While George Osborne frets about claimants lying in bed with the blinds down, the Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke has turned his mind to what these people spend their money on when they finally get out of bed. Too much, he thinks, is going on “cigarettes, alcohol, Sky television and gambling” – NEDD items, he called them, which stands for ‘non essential, desirable and damaging.’
He introduced a Bill in the Commons today under which the government would stop paying any cash at all to any claimants except those on disability benefits or the state pension. The rest would be given welfare cash cards which they would use only to purchase what they really need, which he listed as “food, clothing, energy, travel and housing”. This, Mr Shelbrooke reckons, would help eradicate child poverty, reduce the strain on the NHS, and restore public confidence in the welfare system.
Some people might object that it would be humiliating to have to use a claimant’s card, but Mr Shelbrooke gave that argument short shrift. “If people did not want to be recognised as being unemployed, job centres would cease to exist as people would not visit them for fear of being seen in them,” he said.
There is no prospect of Mr Shelbrooke’s bill becoming law, but it says volumes about how some of the Tories regard the unemployed.
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