In their bid for re-election earlier this year, the Tories went on an offensive attack. We have proven that we can deliver; Britain doesn’t need a coalition seemed to have been the message heralded.
The track record? In the last coalition government, £18 billion worth of welfare cuts was achieved.
What did the Tories pledge to do if they were elected? Continue with the welfare cuts to “build the low-tax, low-welfare, high-wage economy that Britain needs and the British people want,” the chancellor, George Osborne said.
Among the pledges, a lowering of the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000; migrants from the European Union working a minimum of 4 years before claiming any benefits, no job-seeking benefits to EU job seekers … The pledges were attractive and the Tories got in, this time, with no coalition to save their efforts.
Unfortunately, things are proving somewhat difficult for the Tory Government. The scroungers and work-shy Tories that were thought to have been seen everywhere actually happened to be mythical creatures. And the incapacity benefits, which they wanted scraped by introducing the fit-for-work tests, had to be abandoned after successful appeals showed that benefits were not being fraudulently claimed.
The household benefit cap has sent many families to food banks, and many more are following. Still, cuts must be made and the next target was to cut tax credits on which the government spends about £30 billion a year and which affect 3.3 million families.
Unfortunately for George Osborne, but fortunately for those families, some of whom voted in the Tory Government, the House of Lords and the British Parliament Upper House voted against the plan, one that had already been voted in the House of Commons. But as a Conservative lawmaker said yesterday, “Somebody had to tell the government to think again.”
And think again is what George Osborne has promised to do, even if it is apparent that his ego has seriously been dented. The Chancellor has hit back by saying that the role of the House of Lords will be reviewed.
“Unelected Labour and Liberal Lords have voted down a matter passed by the elected House of Commons. That raises constitutional issues and David Cameron and I are clear they have got to be dealt with,” he said yesterday.
However, his adversaries are seeing a Chancellor who is overreacting. The Labour MP, Wes Streeting, said on the day the Lords dealt a blow to George Osborne, “Instead of manufacturing a phoney constitutional crisis, why won’t he put his toys back in the pram and appreciate that he needs to go back to the drawing board with his failed policy which hits working people the hardest?”
To say that the Tory Government is in hot waters with their proposed pledge to cut £12 billion a year is an understatement, for they will not be able to achieve that without affecting that same middle-class that massively voted them in power. One waits to see what George Osborne’s thinking will come up with.