there is a part of me that believes that iain duncan smith is trying to do the right thing.
there is also a part of me that agrees with the broad concept of a benefit cap.
and yet despite that and despite iain duncan smith's claims to the contrary i can't help but feel that the cap is just a way to punish those who are unfortunate enough to be unemployed.
he talks about how people are 'trapped' by benefits - he says there are people in parts of London paying more than £100,000 a year in rent "which no-one on a regular income could possibly afford".
i would take a guess here and say that the numbers who are 'trapped' this way are very few and that to use this as an example is lazy.
(without facts it is hard to know what the circumstances of these 'people' are - does he mean rent or does he mean mortgage repayments? if it is about mortgages then it is quite possible that the people involved could afford to live this way before they moved on to benefits. if it is rent it is highly doubtful that anyone was paying that sort of rent when they were working and that the rent they are now paying is more down to the greed of the landlord than the inhabitants).
while it isn't to be considered a punishment the argument's core is this - on benefits you don't want to work, in order to get you to work we will cut your benefits.
if that isn't a stick (punishment) i am not sure what is.
of course while all this benefit capping is taking place there is still no concept of where the jobs are going to come from. so does the person who can no longer afford to live in their home thanks to the caps - move somewhere else? to a part of the country where the rents are cheaper? where it is quite likely that there are no jobs?
maybe it is just a plan to ghetto the unemployed outside of the thriving cities - out of sight out of mind?
the idea of rent control seems not to be one that the coalition is going to consider and why should they - after all if someone is making money from the misery of the poor that is a sign that capitalism is working.
it has been argued that the savings of this cap is not that much (in over all terms) and that we are paying out more in benefits to the very wealthy than are going to be saved by this cap.
if this is the case - then it makes sense to means test the rich, again something that won't happen - make the poor jump through hoops to get something meanwhile let people like vince cable keep his heating allowance.
as i say i am not against a cap in principle - but i am against something that appears to have the sole purpose of punishing those worse off.
that said it is the tory way after all.