Welfare Minister says Benefits is a Lifestyle Choice
- 23 Nov
Lord Freud has said that too many people rely on benefits as a lifestyle choice instead of as a safety net.
The welfare minister has made some controversial statements about poor people, but insists that he understands the reality of living on benefits.
The minister was defending the governments decision to put a cap on benefits in an interview with The House magazine, as he believes that the present system is dreadful, and allows lone parents and sickness claimants to choose to have a lifestyle on the state, which is similar to the opinions previously expressed by George Osborne on the subject of benefits.
When asked about whether he could understand the life of a poor person when he earned a fortune as an investment banker, he insisted that he understood and replied:
I think you don’t have to be the corpse to go to a funeral.
In the interview, he said:
The point about the benefit cap is it is making a statement about what are the limits of a welfare system.
People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks - they've got least to lose.
We have, through our welfare system, created a system which has made them reluctant to take risks so we need to turn that on its head and make the system predictable so that people will take those risks. I think we have a dreadful welfare system.
Freud's comments were criticised by Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, who said:
The nasty party is well and truly back. This government has comprehensively failed to get Britain back to work and frankly it's a disgrace that ministers now choose to kick people when they are down rather than even pretend to offer a helping hand.
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