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Hard working

On the division between the hard–working and the jobless.

An excuse for all sorts of outrageous behaviour. The latest is a change in the housing benefit rules, which will mean hundreds of unemployed Ipswich people will be £34 a week worse off and, as a consequence, out of their homes.

Our Tory MP Ben Gummer supports this change. Here’s his reasoning:

In principle I support the government’s proposals as they will restore a degree of fairness to the system. Many employed single people who are not eligible to receive housing benefit have to rent a room in shared accommodation. In some cases, they do so well beyond the age of thirty-five. I do not think it is fair, therefore, that those who depend on benefits can afford to live alone when hard working people who prize their independence and save diligently are prevented from doing so. To continue these high payments to such people is both unfair and unsustainable. Ben Gummer, Ipswich Spy

Why the distinction between the “hard–working” and “those who depend on benefits”? Why is this not seen as a problem of lack of affordable housing for people who don’t earn lots of money, whether they’re in work or not.

And how does Ben Gummer know that everyone who isn’t claiming housing benefit is hard working? Or “diligently” saving? This is patronising nonsense.

The truth is that those who work and can’t afford their own place are in a very similar situation to the unemployed. And, with the government’s austerity programme, they’re at more risk of becoming dependent on benefits than ever.

The only real division is between people who don’t have much money and those that will never have to depend on benefits because of the wealth and education they were born to. People like Ben Gummer, who are not having to forego one single penny in an effort to pay off the country’s deficit in five years.

So beware of rich people professing to champion the “hard–working”. They have absolutely no idea who these people are – but they’re more than happy for them to bear the brunt of austerity.