The Guardian Oct 2013 – ‘Labour will be tougher than Tories on benefits, promises new welfare chief’ – The article (see link below) was commenting on the views of Rachel Reeves MP; she’s now Labour’s Shadow Chancellor –
I must admit I’ve had a big downer on Reeves ever since October 2013 because, in my view, desperate poverty, which neither Labour nor Tories are willing to address, is actually just as much if not more so within the ignored part of our population, the non-working poor.
The reason Labour and Tories ignore the non-working poor is that they’re significantly less likely to vote. Yes I know that’s an appalling situation but it is how our antiquated political system works. Presently, pretty much the only focus of both our main parties is on the working-class right-wingers as they’re seen as key to who wins swing/marginal constituencies. If you don’t live in a swing/marginal seat where that section of the electorate holds sway then the politicians of Labour and the Tories really aren’t bothered what you think.
I realise that measuring poverty is often difficult but my own test of it growing across the UK is the need for foodbanks. Launched in the year 2000, Salisbury Foodbank was the first Trussell Trust foodbank in the UK. I think there are around 1,200 of their food banks these days. So to my mind poverty is growing and our two major political parties pay lip service to tackling it.
The solution is pretty clear to me, it’s Universal Basic Income (UBI). I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it. The only good news on this front is that the Welsh Government has said it will conduct pilots to try to develop a formula – payments and taxation – to find a workable form of UBI. We’ll see, it could be a kicking the can down the road exercise but at least they’ve listened.