Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, said that restricting benefit rises was “about fairness.”
“I do think that it’s right for the taxpayer at large, who after going out, working hard, paying their taxes, should feel that they’re not having to pay for people who are in receipt of benefits to get a higher effective pay rise than the people actually working,” he said.
“So I think this is an argument about fairness.”
This was so gross a misrepresentation, even ConHome had to cock a sceptical eye:
Er, hang on a minute…how much of that is the state pension?
Today Andrew Grice, in the Independent, continues to pick at the scab:
Ministers were accused last night of demonising benefits claimants in an attempt to justify their controversial decision to increase most state handouts by less than inflation.
Polling commissioned by the Trades Union Congress suggests that a campaign by Tory ministers is turning voters against claimants – but only because the public is being fed “myths” about those who rely on benefits.
Grice gives a bald, balanced rehearsal of press handouts from both sides — the days when the Indy could afford proper reporting are long gone. Then there are some very well-informed reader’s comments, notably by “Arecbalrin“:
The government started early in conflating expenditures lost to fraud and error: error in benefits made both by claimants and by the DWP is rather common, but fraud isn’t. By lumping the two together, ministers exaggerated the prevalence of fraud in the system.
They treated this as a mere technicality and insist they have never misrepresented benefit fraud; except that this figure was only being reported in newspapers being briefed, who then printed articles with direct quotes from ministers. Government peer David Freud even apologised for conflating fraud and error, but he’s the only minister to do so and quickly did it again anyway.
In short, the Great British Public is being mis-sold Tory misinformation on an industrial scale. And the “economic liberal” LibDem wing are part of the conspiracy.