16 October 2007

Making British Poverty History

Citing evidence from former leader Iain Duncan Smith's landmark reports Breakdown Britain and Breakthrough Britain, David Cameron has pledged that the next Conservative Government will "make British poverty history." However, he warns that "we need to make twentieth century welfare dependency history first."

He suggests that, despite good intentions, Gordon Brown has failed the country by focusing on top-down, mechanical state interventions instead of developing policies that focus on people — a flawed, one-dimensional approach that has resulted in almost five million people out of work and on benefits, almost four million people in problem debt, and over eight million people with alcohol and drug disorders.

He described a Conservative, holistic approach as one that would take into account the importance of families, communities and incentives to work:

"In place of Gordon Brown's misguided couple penalty, we will increase the Working Tax Credit that couples receive - bringing tax credits fully into line with the rest of the benefits system."

"Instead of the revolving door of people flitting in and out of benefits and work, we will draw on successful examples of welfare reform from all over the world to overhaul our welfare system. These are tailored to the individual, and they harness the private and voluntary sectors, rather than government bureaucracies, to help people get back into work."
Unfortunately, we really cannot afford to put off the radical welfare reform and the social changes that everyone knows we need for yet another two or three years until Mr Cameron becomes Prime Minister. So, let's hope that this new agenda will be the latest idea to be "stolen" by Gordon Brown...