I recently came across some newspapers from late 1991 when our economy was plunging into the second Thatcherite recession, - the one caused by Nigel Lawson’s house-price inflation boom — and I was struck by the depressing similarity of the headlines to today’s rhetoric from the Government.
I was particularly disappointed to read Jessica Lee’s contribution to the Common’s debate on the one per cent cap on uprating benefit payments. Surely she realises that almost two-thirds of recipients are in work trying to look after their families, in the same way as the constituent whose views she quoted? It is the present Government’s policies which are causing the economy to stagnate, depressing the earnings of those in work while raising inflation to well above the target rate.
But then again perhaps low earnings are a deliberate part of those policies. There are, of course, some ‘social security scroungers’ just as there have been MPs and councillors who use the rules to maximise their expenses.
She also repeated the claim that the world economic crisis was all the fault of a wild spending spree by the last Government.
Leaving aside the fact that at the time David Cameron promised to match Labour’s spending pound for pound and that Britain entered the world crisis with the second lowest budget deficit of advanced industrial nations, does she really think that the investments made in improving Erewash’s schools, medical facilities and hospital, after years of neglect by the Government, were a waste of money?
There is a serious debate to be had about the best way to overcome the present economic problems but they will not be solved by a blaming the welfare state.