Clause 93 — Benefit cap
Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister
Chris Grayling (Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative)
In the past hour and 45 minutes, we have listened to a debate that sums up the difference between the Labour party and the parties in government. With the leave of the House, I will respond briefly to the remarks that we have heard.
It is my view—and, I believe, the view of the public listening to this debate—that we have to change the nature of our welfare state. We have to move away from the world that existed under the previous Government, where children grew up, generation after generation, in houses where no one worked, and where entire communities had people with no experience of work in their family and who knew nothing about how to improve their lot in life. In the Bill, we have introduced a package of measures that will do nothing short of transforming our welfare state.
The great tragedy of this afternoon’s debate is that Labour just does not get it. We have seen an extraordinary attempt by Labour to get itself off a highly visible public hook over a policy that commands overwhelming public support in every constituency in the country. If we walked out on to the streets this afternoon and asked the public what they thought about a benefit cap, we would discover that virtually everyone was 100% behind this policy. Yet what we have heard from the Opposition over the weeks has been an exercise in dancing around the issue. There have been moments when they have said that they favour the benefits cap, but there have been moments when they have said that they oppose it.