Tory Austerity never went far enough for Starmer or Reeves. Woe Betide Social Housing

Not content will being labelled Tory Lite, Keir Starmer appoints Rachel Reeves Shadow Chancellor – a woman who believes Austerity did not go far enough and who is miles to the political right of Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey.

In October 2013 Rachel Reeves was the Shadow DWP Minister in the Ed Miliband cabinet and infamously stated her extreme right-wing views on benefit scroungers and workfare.

In October 2013 her counterparts were Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey at the DWP. IDS had introduced the bedroom tax, the overall benefit cap policy, had frozen LHA and upped the age limit on the shared accommodation rate from those under 25 to those under 35, and he had also introduced Universal Credit.

This level of austerity was not right-wing enough for Rachel Reeves who thought IDS was a wet and too soft on those out of work. UC sanctions which increased more than ten-fold on the legacy system was not hard enough for Reeves who wanted workfare

By October 2013 Esther McVey as Disabilities Minister has introduced PIP to replace Disability Living Allowance a policy with a clear and unambiguous intent to take disability benefit away from half a million households receiving it, a policy that said 500,000 of its then 2.7 million recipients were not disabled but work-shy scroungers.

Page 9 of the Impact Assessment referenced above

Esther McVey was far too liberal for Rachel Reeves liking in only calling out 19% of disability benefit recipients as piss takers and benefit cheats, which is what the DLA to PIP policy did and had at its heart. Rachel Reeves would be far tougher on them than Esther McVey and Iain Duncan Smith.

By March 2015 Rachel Reeves was in full flow and infamously stated Labour was a party for those in work but not a party for those out of work …

Pensioners are not in work. Those incapacitated are not in work. Most of those who are disabled are not in work. The Labour Party is not for you says Rachel Reeves.

In October 2021 the three million forced to claim Universal Credit as a result of the pandemic will be joined by millions more unemployed as the furlough scheme ends as does the £20 per week top-up. Many of the 4.8 million furlough recipients will finally find they are unemployed and look to Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, the Labour Party but instead of support they will find Rachel Reeves and Labour stating the country cannot afford these workless millions so get off your arses as work will set you free else we will introduce workfare. You are all FORMER workers so not welcome in Starmer Labour!

Rachel Reeves as Shadow Chancellor sees Starmer Labour not as Tory Lite but as Tory Plus in terms of Austerity.

The 1948 Welfare State and all that it means is now dead with this appointment of Reeves as Shadow Chancellor. We have a workfare state as the official policy of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition not a welfare state.

Do not get sick or ill. Do not lose your job. Only (non-unionised zero hour contract) employment will set you free under Starmer Labour. Do not expect the state to provide shelter and housing or any other pillar of the 1948 Welfare State.

‘Welfare’ to Rachel Reeves is a handout not a hand-up as her own utterances reveal. She is an unconstituted New Labourite politician heavily influenced by Etzioni communitarianism and all rights – to welfare etc – having to be balanced by a contract-based responsibility that goes way beyond the ‘tough love’ of workfare that the Tories didn’t dare to introduce.

The contractual-based welfare the Tories did introduce for example in Universal Credit core terms that anyone who can work 1 hour per week must work 35 hours per week and must travel 90 minutes to and from the place of work each day and must accept the national minimum wage else get sanctioned and receive nothing in welfare do not go far enough in terms of claimant responsibility for Reeves. The contractually based nature of welfare that New Labour introduced as central to the New Labour project I could bore you to tears with as it was the subject of my undergraduate disssertation. The contractual nature of welfare rights to welfare responsibility had never been done before the New Labour project

In applied and practical terms it does not bode well for social housing and homelessness that I normally discuss as both these sectors are riven with the SODS (Sick, Old, Disabled, Supported) or DOSS in the Reeves lexicon. The social rented sector seesa majority of all households having a disability according to EHS data, it has a far higher average householder age at 54 compared with 39 for the PRS and it has sheltered and supported housing that the PRS does not. In short, the typical SRS tenant profile is the work-shy benefit scrounger in Reeves thinking and ‘the homeless’ are homeless due to their ‘lifestyle choices’ and so on.

Reeves tenure as Shadow DWP minister under Miliband (2013 to 2015) was characterised by non-opposition to Tory Austerity in case Labour was labelled the party OF welfare and which gave the Austerity ‘welfare reforms’ as much free rein as Starmer has done in not opposing Johnson.

Infamously, UKIP came out publicly against the Bedroom Tax in this time and before the Miliband Labour Party which had Reeves as its Shadow DWP Minister. This was one manifestation of Reeves positioning of Labour being tougher than the Tories on welfare and there are a great many more. Welfare and social policy as well as housing policy by focus group at the time (and now joined by pithy superficial soundbite and slogan on social media) in short and for those in social housing does anyone recall Miliband Labour coming out against the 60% cut in social housing subsidy? It didn’t though Miliband himself said Thatcher was right to introduce Right to Buy at the 2011 Labour conference speech. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury at the time and who could and should have opposed the drastic social housing cut was you guessed it Rachel Reeves.

Social, as in social housing, social purpose, social ethos, etc., has the same root as in social-ism which Reeves opposes full stop in any form. The state is not responsible, the state is not a welfare state with a safety net but is a workfare state that chides the workless, the sick, the old, the disabled and those who require any form of support or basic humanity. Those in housing need including those who are roofless and homeless have to get off their fat lazy arses and work their way out of the dire straits their own lifestyle choices has seen them arrive at is the philosophy of Rachel Reeves.

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