Fraser Nelson

A shocking - but not surprising - dependency culture

A shocking - but not surprising - dependency culture
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This time it’s Caroline Flint who has been wheeled out to get tough on welfare claimants. But this sentence in her interview in The Guardian jumped out at me.

"She admitted she was surprised by figures showing that more than half of those of working age living in social housing are without paid work - twice the national average."

Surprised? She shouldn’t be – this appalling fact lead Chapter Five of the DWP’s misnamed report “Ready for Work”. It was the single most appalling graph in (pdf, p46) Prof John Hills’ report on social housing (which the DWP helped to produce), which shows how much worse the situation has become since 1981. The key to being a happy Labour MP is not to look too closely at the party’s claims at achieving social justice. Yet this scandalous picture of failure is always there, for those with an eye to see it.

I don’t doubt Ms Flint was sincere. Time and time again I meet Labour ministers who are foolish enough to have believed their own hype about having “achieved full employment” (as Purnell laughably put it on the Marr before last) and are genuinely staggered to find just how untrue this really is.

These ten supposedly booming years have unsurprisingly bypassed those whom Labour has paid to do nothing, and go to rot in a council estate while sending their kids to sink schools etc. It is thanks to this government-sponsored social apartheid that prosperity has not been converted into social justice. And why? Because Labour cannot fight poverty. Never has done, never will do. It will never accept that redistribution of wealth doesn’t work. Its methods just breed dependency, and they are being tested to destruction in British council houses. Flint should have said she was shocked to learn that statistic. But not surprised.

P.S. Tim Worstall points out that three-quarters of the tenants under 25 are without work.

Written byFraser Nelson

Fraser Nelson is the editor of The Spectator. He is also a columnist with The Daily Telegraph, a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Social Justice and the Centre for Policy Studies.

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