Monday, December 18, 2006

John Hutton: war on the poor

Those of you who notice things other than Iraq and other things connected with the war on terror will know about John Hutton’s latest offering about people who could work but prefer to remain idle while drawing Incapacity Benefit at the expense of the poor old taxpayer.

The Welfare Reform Bill gives John Hutton the power to make regulations to say what a person must do, how they must do it and when they must do it to stay on benefit. Remember that this is about people who are facing serious health problems and disabilities: the people that the current social security rules deem unfit to work. With Hutton’s rant against the “workshy” who “choose” to live on Incapacity Benefit it seems that some of the most vulnerable people in our society are being lined up for a serious amount of bullying.

If Hutton follows this through then he will be producing punitive regulations that victimise people for being ill or disabled. People with long term illness or disabilities will be the new target of all the target of all the reactionary bile that New Labour, the Tories and the gutter press love to whip up. Asylum seekers will have company as the people at the bottom of the social pile who can be freely abused and treated like human garbage, their basic needs dismissed with a dismissive and moralising wave of the hand.