UK – Ex-minister attacks government ‘playground politics’ of benefit changes

Sarah_Teather_MP_at_Harrogate(BBC) A former minister has accused the government of indulging in “playground politics” over its welfare policy.

Sarah Teather said using terms such as strivers and scroungers to justify cuts to benefits was “unworthy” of the coalition and risked creating “envy and division” between different groups.

But Ms Teather said she could not support the government and would be joining Labour in the division lobbies as she was “deeply anxious” about the impact of the cap on the poorest families in her constituency.

“We have a huge problem with in-work child poverty and we are only going to make this significantly worse by affecting those who are at the bottom end of the income spectrum,” she told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.

Mr Osborne has been criticised by Labour for some of the language he has used over welfare – particularly when he sought to draw a distinction between those going to work early in the morning and others whose “curtains were closed”.

Labour has said it is working families on low incomes which will be most affected by the benefit cap and other austerity measures such as curbs on tax credits and housing benefit.

“One the the things I feel particularly uncomfortable about is the setting up of these two groups – the supposed strivers versus scroungers,” Ms Teather added.

Read the full story on the BBC website

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