The Labour party is broadly supportive, but the coalition's plans were still be met by the predictable criticism that they are regressive. These arguments miss the point. Work is of value; even in good times it must be made to pay. Even if the public finances were in order, reform would be necessary; now that they have collapsed, reform is imperative. Britain cannot afford all those expensive welfare schemes, the purpose of which is to avoid uncomfortable reforms.
The welfare battle ground encapsulates the national cuts debate. We must steal from future generations or borrow from abroad in order to continue as we have been. The country has to come off the drug. It will be difficult, but the country has to complete the process if it wants to emerge in a healthier form.