This is in response to Rachel Reeves' first interview after becoming Shadow Secretary of State for the DWP. The media article can befound here.
I am sick of hearing about what politicians think, or about what they think the public thinks, or about what the public thinks.
I'm not interested in what people think. I'm interested in what they know and what evidence that knowledge is based on.
I don't want a minister who thinks it is right to make sure that people in work don't feel others are getting something they can't get.
I want a minister who thinks it is right to make sure that people in work or out of work are correctly informed about what the social security system provides. I want a minister who knows that people in work always have a higher income than those not in work. I want a minister who knows that a household benefit cap set at the level of a single person's pre-benefits income means that that household is restricted to substantially less than the average household income. I want a minister who knows that the benefit cap is affecting people who are homeless and who are fleeing domestic violence, and who knows that these people are vulnerable and need protection.
I want a minister who knows that it's hard work to be poor and hard work to be sick.
I want a minister who knows that when there aren't enough jobs to go round, helping person C get a job just means that it's person B who doesn't get one instead.
Liam Byrne spoke about full employment. Will Rachel Reeves make this her focus?
William Beveridge said that, "the government should not feel that by paying doles it can avoid the major responsibility of seeing that unemployment and disease are reduced to the minimum. The place for direct expenditure and organisation by the State is in maintaining employment of the labour and other productive resources of the country, and in preventing and combating disease, not in patching an incomplete scheme of insurance."
When will our governments respond to high unemployment by investing in job creation and in the NHS, rather than by creating punitive back-to-work schemes and taking money away from the NHS?
Mrs Reeves, the people suffering under the social security cuts do not need more 'toughness.' We need protection and the chance to stabilise and build our lives.