Theresa May plans to roll out new unemployment benefits, but only for Conservative MPs who lost their seats. At a meeting with the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, the sitting Prime Minister promised to give financial support to Conservative candidates out of a job.
One MP leaving the meeting said:
She was very concerned about people who have lost their seats. The party is going to help them, some of them are in dire financial situations. She did say sorry, several times. She apologised for colleagues losing their seats, for making the call about the early election
On 8 June, May’s MPs faced a battering, including her top team. Home Secretary Amber Rudd managed to hang on by a handful of votes. But many other ministers weren’t so lucky. Nine of May’s government ministers lost their seats to a resurgent Labour.
Austerity for everyone, except us
The Conservatives have spent seven years presiding over austerity for the most vulnerable people in society. The change in the benefit system to Universal Credit represented a huge cut in unemployment allowance, among other benefits, for millions. The Tories have also ruthlessly slashed disabled people’s unemployment benefits.
But May is now rushing to financially “help” Conservative colleagues who are out of a job. Twitter responded accordingly to the double standard:
Surely this is peak Tory – suddenly giving a shit about the unemployed because it's literally one of them. https://t.co/UZZCm4Cbgn
— heartbeeps (@hrtbps) June 12, 2017
There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 alone as a result of Conservative cuts, according to an Oxford University report. A disabled activist challenged May’s new Justice Minister, Dominic Raab, during the campaign. Raab said supporting disabled people was a “childish wish list”, unless you’ve got a “strong economy”. But apparently, supporting newly unemployed Conservative MPs is fine.
Then, Raab wheeled out the well-rehearsed Conservative justification for the cruelty:
The raw truth is that the money’s got to come from somewhere.
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a test that the government uses to determine whether a disabled person is ‘fit for work’. Contrary to Raab’s response, the WCA has actually cost the government far more to administer than it has saved in reduced numbers of benefit claimants. In short, it actually costs the taxpayer money to put people through such trauma. Yet disabled people still had their unemployment benefits cut. Meanwhile, Conservative MPs are set to be financially supported after losing their seats.
In reality, investing in disabled and sick people is not even a cost to the taxpayer. Welfare spending is not consumption, but an investment that powers the economy. As renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang lays out in The Guardian:
Increased spending on disability benefits and care for older people helps carers to have more time and less stress, making them more productive workers.
So welfare spending of this kind increases productivity and can empower disabled people to contribute to their communities. Still, May and the Conservatives have cut their support relentlessly.
But when Conservative MPs lose their jobs and need a helping hand, the money’s there. Such double standards were likely a big player in losing the Conservatives their majority.
– Read more from The Canary on the general election.
– Join The Canary, and help us hold the mainstream media to account.
– Sign the petition of no confidence in a Conservative/ DUP coalition.
– Make your thoughts on the deal known. Contact your MP and be vocal on social media
Featured image via YouTube
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?