The Conservatives have been accused of “a return to the nasty party” after labelling people out of work as scroungers.
> A return to ? Like there was every a time they weren’t ?
North Tories caused outrage when they tweeted that they had been tough on “benefit scroungers.”
Labour said the tweet was an attack on working families who struggle to get by in low-paid jobs.
Across the region it is thought 80% of those claiming benefits do so as a result of low wages.
And the North East also has the highest percentage of people out of work, with 10% struggling to find a job.
The tweet, from the @Torypressnorth Twitter account, read:
“Sick of benefit scroungers? Vote Conservative. For the first time in British history we have capped them. Labour let them get out of control.”
Party polling has previously shown that a tough line on benefits is a vote winner for the Conservatives.
But Benefits Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has repeatedly claimed the party is reforming welfare to help people out of poverty. The MP has spent years telling people the party is on a caring mission for those out of work or on low wages.
> And we don’t believe him…
In Teesside, Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop pulled no punches over the controversial tweet, labelling it an attack on working families.
> But not an attack on non-working (for whatever reason) people ? Who, under current Labour thinking, are scroungers who need to be punished ?
The Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP said: “This is a typical sign of what the Tories are like. 80% of people on benefits are in work. If you look at just housing benefit it is set to rise to £5bn by 2015 because people cannot get by on low wages alone.
“The fact that these people need benefits while in work shows that the Conservatives are failing to help make wages work.
“To say these are benefit scroungers is to ignore the Government’s own role in that, the way they have simply not done enough to create the jobs people need.
“The Tories are forcing people onto benefits then attacking them when they claim them.”
The Conservatives have insisted the tweet was one aimed at people who con the system, and said there would be no apology for defending Government costs.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “The Conservative Party is unapologetic about making work pay and capping welfare so that our long-term economic plan delivers for those who work hard and play by the rules.
“It’s a shame that as usual Ed Miliband’s Labour Party are too weak to stand up for ordinary hard-working people.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 21 June 2014