Welfare Reform? Owen Smith MP just confirmed Labour have NO IDEA

owen-smith-flounders-over-welfare-reformJo Coburn, on BBC Sunday Politics London, today interviewed Owen Smith, Labour’s Shadow Work & Pensions Minister.

Proving herself yet again to be amongst the top UK interviewers at present, Jo proceeded to seriously question Owen Smith on a number of topics, including:

  • Labour’s economic credibility
  • Oldham West by-election result
  • Welfare Reform & Benefit Caps
  • De-selection of rebel Labour MP’s

Unfortunately for Owen, Jo was on top of her game today.  Whilst asking simple questions any viewer could understand, she permitted him to talk, not being drawn into constant interruptions as other interviewers can be.

Owen stuck to Party lines on most answers, but came unstuck when Jo delved into Welfare Reform & Benefit Caps, showing a serious lack of direction from Labour.  When he tried to spin her a rhetorical line, she pounced and laid bare his hypocrisy, trying to establish whether it was merely his own or a reflection of the Labour party as a whole.

I’ll leave the details of the interview to the man himself in the accompanying videos below, but I can safely say I came away from this today thinking that Labour’s approach to Welfare and Benefits is a complete mess.

I was not convinced by Owen’s responses that Labour are on the side of workers, merely those who are dependant upon the state.  Watch for yourself, see if you are convinced.

Welfare Reform & Benefit Caps

I have included the full interview below, well worth a watch, but the portion I’d focus on is Welfare Reform & Benefit Caps.

Jo Coburn pulls no punches, refusing to be deflected from some inconsistencies with Owen Smith and his party’s current position.

Owen Smith MP, on the other hand, flounders badly resorting to rhetoric and extremely specific examples to deflect from what is obviously an area of economic policy where Labour have absolutely no idea at present.  They failed over this in May, but instead of trying to fix that, they have retreated into rhetoric with no solution offered.

The Tax Credits furore is over, Osborne dropped it, but there will still be some serious reform to Benefits with the introduction of Universal Credit and Benefit Caps.  Owen Smith flops all over, but comes up with no clear policy, unsure even of what his own voters want.

Welfare & Benefits Cap Clip

A brief summary of the interview:

  • Jo: “So, given your mess of economic policy in May, where are Labour now on Welfare?”
  • Owen: “People want us to stand up for those on benefits. Think of the kids.”
  • Jo: “But do they? Where is your evidence? What about those who work?”
  • Owen: “Umm, we need to win an election to bring our policy in”
  • Jo: “But what is your policy?”
  • Owen: “These figures are complicated, so I have no idea really.  Blah blah, hypocrisy & rhetoric, blah blah.”

Full Interview

 

BBC Sunday Politics London, full programme is available on BBC iPlayer.

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