Cruddas: Benefit cuts are “brutal social engineering”

The influential Labour back-bencher John Cruddas will use the politics column in this week’s New Statesman to launch a withering attack on the Coalition’s changes to housing benefit – likening the policy to a “modern-day Highland clearance”.

The influential Labour back-bencher Jon Cruddas will use the politics column in this week’s New Statesman to launch a withering attack on the coalition’s changes to housing benefit – likening the policy to a “modern-day Highland clearance”.

The MP for Dagenham and Rainham argues that the changes to housing benefit, which will force thousands of families out of major cities, represents “brutal social engineering”, an ideological objective for the likes of George Osborne, and that Labour must step-up to the challenge of welfare reform.

He writes:

“This government’s £18bn benefit cuts will leave the poor to pick up the tab for the economic crisis, while its housing strategy amounts to a modern enclosure movement.

“This clearance, together with the hasty redrawing of electoral boundaries and moves to discourage electoral registration, signal the political disenfranchisement of the poor.”

Alongside his scathing attack on the current Conservatives in Government, Mr Cruddas said that welfare reform provided an opportunity for Labour to test its notion of the “good society” (something that David and Ed Miliband both campaigned on) a “new creed” away from the materialism of New Labour.

Earlier this week on Left Foot Forward, Mr Cruddas outlined his alternative plan to the Coalition’s spending review – advocating interventionist industrial policy and a strategy for deficit reduction based on growth and full employment.

In his column, he argues Labour must offer real change and an alternative to the Conservatives’ demonising of “a feckless mob of undeserving poor”. He argues Labour must examine its history once again, and create a counter-culture to the commodification of all aspects of life by Osborne and Co.

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