Wales welfare cuts

When I read these stories, I think about Reverend Bacon’s “steam control” speech in “Bonfire of the Vanities.” Because when government refuses to provide at least some basics to make the lives of the poor tolerable, the steam builds up. And, as Bacon points out, have you ever seen what happens when a steam boiler is out of control?

Imagine: A 14% cut in your benefits if you have a spare room!

Changes to welfare and benefits will have a “destabilising, damaging and devastating impact on communities”, a Welsh government minister has claimed.

In a strong attack, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Huw Lewis accuses the UK government of “coming for ordinary Welsh people”.

He also claimed the coalition was setting out to “make the poor pay the most” for the banking crisis.

But the UK government says the changes are needed and are fair.

The Welfare Reform Bill is set to mark the biggest overhaul of the benefits system since the 1940s as it comes into force this month.

The government has also confirmed plans to implement a £50 immediate fine for “errors that could have reasonably been prevented” on benefit claims.

It also wants to impose tougher penalties for more serious benefit fraud.

But Mr Lewis claimed the UK government was “coming for ordinary Welsh people” and of setting out to “make the poor pay the most” for the banking crisis.

He said: “My concerns run very deep. The UK government’s programme of welfare reform as they call it to my mind isn’t about welfare reform at all.

“To my mind it’s about the remaking of social security in its entirety.

“They are recasting the relationship between the UK government and citizens, just when people need protection most of all in this economic downturn, they are stepping away from their responsibility to the most vulnerable in our society.”

H/t Ron K., who says, “If you can’t make the American system as good as Britain’s, make Britain’s as bad as America. ‘Cause the parasites need feeding no matter what.”

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