What is Labour policy on the benefits cap?

John Rentoul

ed balls image 2 298293472 300x195 What is Labour policy on the benefits cap?The benefits cap, which limits household welfare benefits to £26,000 a year, the level of average earnings, was brought in on 15 April in four London boroughs. It will be extended to the rest of the country in July.

Ed Balls last week told LBC that Labour would “definitely keep” the cap, so long as it is “set in the right way”.

I thought this was quite significant, but it was hardly reported.

Does “set in the right way” merely mean that Labour in government would bring in regional caps, which I think has been the party’s policy all along? If so, and assuming the policy has no net cost, does that mean that some claimants in London will gain while others elsewhere will lose out?

And, if so, why did Labour not simply support the policy – ”in principle” if necessary – in the first place, instead of putting itself on the wrong side of one of the most popular Government policies ever tested by opinion pollsters? Or, rather, I should say that the benefits cap is an extremely unpopular policy – because most people think that the cap is set far too high.

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  • greggf

    “…..definitely keep” the cap, so long as it is “set in the right way”.

    That sounds like qualifications, exemptions, yes – regional adjustments, remove “inequities” etc.
    In a word, or rather thousands of them, they’ll bureaucratize the caps!

  • Hill244

    Labour policy on benefits is like Labour policy on all other areas – virtually indistinguishable from Tory policy.

  • James James

    They all say whatever they think will get them votes. Doesnt matter. they all lie. Time to give UKIIP a chance. These other MPs have been caught lying many times (expenses; end to child poverty; referendums; it is a very long list). Why do the public allow themselves to be fooled time and again. One may not be born every minute, but you couldnt know this looking at the UK.

  • Pacificweather

    Not really surprising it was not widely reported. Labour follows Tory policy has not been news since 1997.

  • Junius

    Macaulay tells us that Samuel Johnson was a Tory ‘not from rational conviction – for his serious opinion was that one form of government was just as good or as bad as another – but from mere passion, such as inflamed the Capulets against the Montagues, or the Blues of the Roman Circus against the Greens’.

    While in the recent past there might have been clear ideological water between Britain’s two main parties, only deepest-dyed-in-the-wool tribal adherents could now believe that the average voter would be much better or much worse off whichever was in power. That future electoral battles will be decided on the centre ground of politics we may offer grateful thanks to Margaret Thatcher for defeating Old Labour and the trades union barons, and Tony Blair for his Clause Four moment.

    Whether Dave and George or the Two Eds emerge victorious after the mere passion and punch-and-judy knockabout of the 2015 election campaign, we may be sure it will be business as usual. Hurrah for the reds! Play up, the blues!

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