Peter Hoskin

Is welfare reform becoming a consensus issue?

Just returning to this Compass / YouGov poll of Labour members which I flagged up yesterday, as some of the other results are worth noting.  There’s plenty of support for ostensibly leftist measures, such as a crackdown on bankers’ bonuses and higher taxes for the well-off.  But James Purnell’s welfare reform agenda also gets a fair amount of backing, despite the fact that it’s been unpopular with the left of the party before now.  On the question of what should be done with the reforms, the response is thus:

Implemented as planned — 50 Delayed until after the recession is over, and jobs are more readily available — 35 Scrapped altogether — 11 Don’t know — 5

It’s further evidence that welfare reform is less politically toxic than it once was, and perhaps becoming even less so as the recession bites.  And further incentive, too, for the Tories to recast the reform agenda for the recession era, now that they’ve captured David Freud from the Government.

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