Last week Rachel Reeves let her guard down at a meeting of Christians on the Left, formerly known as the Christian Socialist Movement:
‘It will be much better if we can say that all of the changes that the Government have introduced we can reverse and all benefits can be universal.’
Much better? Really? That’s not what the sums say…
Implementing working-age Universal Benefits alone after the next election would cost Rachel £180 billion a year, which is double the benefits bill now. If you then include reversing all of IDS’s savings made in this parliament – like £2.1 billion to Housing Benefit Reforms (this year alone) or £1.3 billion to Employment and Support Allowance – you’re looking at another £50 billion needed. That takes Rachel’s bill to £230 billion . How can that figure possibly be seen as ‘much better’?
The Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary admitting that she’s against the principle of Welfare Reform, but has been forced into it, hardly fills you with confidence about how she would act should she get her hands on the moneybags. Tomorrow Labour will finally back a welfare cap, something that they have voted against three times before, yet behind closed doors what has actually changed?