Martin Bright

And now for some good news on benefits

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It's no surprise that the Coalition's plans to take child benefit away from higher-rate taxpayers is dominating the news. It's the boldest move the government has made so far and may yet prove to be the most reckless. So far, this attempt to sell social justice to the Conservative base has spectacularly backfired. I am beginning to wonder whether the Tories do fairness and equality as badly as the Labour Party does immigration.

The volume of hostility to the plans means that almost every other policy announcement has been drowned out. However, Iain Duncan Smith did something really remarkable today by reviving the 1980s Enterprise Allowance Scheme. This is something I and my colleagues at New Deal of the Mind have been campaigning on for over a year now and I am delighted the Work and Pensions Secretary has taken up our ideas. 

The detail pf the 21st century version of the scheme is still sketchy, but IDS has promised a £2,000 package of support and mentoring to help people come of the dole and set up their own businesses. 

The Labour government consistently failed to embrace self-employment as a route out of worklessness. I can only hope the Conservative Party's rhetoric about supporting entrepreneurship bears fruit in some detailed practical proposals.