Coffee House

IDS the victor?

1 October 2010

There are still conflicting
, but Michael Crick and The Times intimate that a deal has been struck: IDS
has beaten the recalcitrant Treasury over his £9bn universal benefit reform, with David Cameron’s express help.

As Frank Field put it on Sky News, IDS’ plan is ‘good for the country, good for the taxpayer and good for those dependent on welfare.’ Field gave no clue as to the final outcome
of this battle, but victory for IDS would be a crucial moment in public service reform.

If Crick and the Times are right then this is obviously fantastic news ahead of the Tory conference, where I feel David Cameron should "">explain to the country beyond the hall what positives a Tory government offers besides sound
accounting. If you recall his passion when talking about poverty and welfare dependency last year, then I’ve no doubt that Cameron will deliver. It bodes well for an important week, as, for
the first time in 14 years, the Tories go to conference in government.

  • Paddy

    The majority of the country will welcome this news.

    It will be fantastic if IDS gets ‘to grips’ with reforming the benefits culture.

  • JR

    This is IDS trying to bounce people. Watch the Sunday Times tomorrow and a potential nuclear reaction around Whitehall.

  • justathought

    An accountant told me that a lot of benefit fraud could be avoided if different government departments effectively shared information. The legislation already exists to allow this to happen.

    The first example he gave was that claimants are asked to provide bank details however the DWP does not carry out any credit reference checks. This encourages claimants to offer the DWP one account details while operating several others that they are unaware of (the transactions and balances which would disqualify entitlement presumably).

    The second example he was familiar with was the private security industry, serving clubs and the like throughout the UK. There is a high element of the black economy as it is a cash business. The Home Office regulate the industry through the SIA. Applicants have criminal records checked and identity. If the DWP cross referenced their claimants with SIA license holders he suggested that this would through up interesting results!

    For the public to support these reforms it would be helpful to have some early wins.

  • Neil Turner

    Your title “IDS the victor?” is unfortunate. It implies a clash of ego between IDS and Osborne

    I think it was Ronald Reagan who said…

    “there is no limit to what you can achieve in politics, if you don’t mind who gets the credit”

    When politicians abandon selfish ambition, and work for the country’s best interests, things will be better for all of us

  • cuffleyburgers

    Gardmal – there’s no guarantee the policy will be supported by Labour. Labour do not have the interests of the poor at heart. they will be reluctant to risk empowering their expensively (with our money) acquired client state, and will find ways to oppose meaningful reform.

    The coalition have been disgracefully wobbly on Europe and Hague seems to have gone totally native, but if Health education and welfare can be reformed sensibly then Cameron’s administration will go down as one of the most important in history.

    And to some extent I can even understand their wobbliness on Europe – these internal issues are more immediate. Without them Britain will bleed to death. Once we start geting stronger then we can tackle Brussels, by which time we will have allies among the other disaffected mildly sceptical free trade nations including possibly Germany who will sooner or later get fed up of paying the bill for Greek, Irish and Spanish profligacy, curruption and incompetence.

    Happy days!

  • Gardmal

    Yes this is good news. Because not only is this a flagship policy but one that will be supported by Labour. The devil will be in the detail and ensuring that the policy does not create more poverty will be important. The challenge will be getting the economy in place to ensure there are suitable jobs, otherwise the risk is all stick and no carrot.

    An interesting point to note is that if the levels of fraud and error are to be believed (the DWP does not actually have any idea of the real levels of fraud and error the £5-9bn is just plucked out of the air) then the level of loss is actually quite low on a £140bn spend. Clearly £9bn is a lot of money but it is only a quarter of the loss of evaded tax and is lower than the level of theft and fraud against the mortgage, insurance and finance industry. Private sector would consider the £9bn as acceptable loss.

    It should be remembered that fraud in the UK cost each one of us about £300 per year. Less than £20 of that relates to benefit fraud.

    The fact is that benefits needs to be reformed to make it fairer and to remove long-term dependencies. The rot set in when the Thatcher Government moved vast swathes of the unemployed on to disablility benefits to reduce down the unemployment numbers. Something that the Major, Blair and Brown Governments were loath to change for the very same reasons that Thatcher did it in the first instance.

  • Major Plonquer 1

    Gordon Brown did not get it 100% wrong. No. In fact, he got it half right. He abolished boom.

  • TrevorsDen

    davidk – You are confused the former inglorious leader who always fails is Brown.

    And as usual we see TGF UKIP ploughing his lone insane furrow,


    “With David Cameron’s express help” now that really must be stretching it Mr Blackburn.

    If Dave really is offering any succour to IDS then it really must be through clenched teeth and clothes-pegged nose, for my spies inside the Clque tell me that it’s a close run thing as to who is the more loathed Guido or IDS.

  • Robert Taggart

    Good for IDS. Us scroungers are wanting simplicity in our claims. Keep the giros coming ( without ‘menaces’) and all will be forgiven !

  • davidk

    The former inglorious leader will fail again. He always does.

  • Victor Southern

    IDS really means what he says and has spent years making himself an expert in this area.

    New Labour turned the benefit/tax credit system into a bureaucratic quagmire costing huge money to administer and fraught with problems, blunders and loopholes for cheats.

    IDS deserves an opportunity to sort out this jungle – a truly heroic task that will atke many years to complete.

  • TrevorsDen

    Victory? Lets hope what we get are good policies.

    And lets not get too hysterical about the story of the day generated by the press. Government is a thankless task and you are doing well if you get it half right. Look at Brown, he got it 100% wrong.

  • ollie

    It will be intresting to see how Red Miliband reacts to this. Can’t see him supporting anything that comes form the Tories – wouldn’t welfare reform upset core Labour voters more than anything else?

  • Bloody Bill Brock

    The Tories need some good news which is not based on throwing money away. The majority of people want to see benefit scams ended.IDS could show a real success story at the conference. With the latest on the NHS, they need it.

  • Woody

    I do think this is good news – this really could be the conservatives ‘flagship’ policy. Finally a government is tackling what is a running sore in this country.

  • AndyLeeds

    Good. Welfare reform is long over due.

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