Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Massaging figures and the news...

David Blunkett has a sign attached to his back saying kick me. Well he doesn't but he might as well have. Where are the advisors in his life or has he sacked them. Whatever about his private life, the decision to take a directorship in a DNA testing company so soon after resigning as Home Secretary and doing DNA tests to establish the parenthood of a child was extremely illjudged.

But there are other stories behind the story according to Polly Toynbee in today's Guardian. Blunkett is resisting pressure from Blair to cut Incapacity Benefit (IB) - these cuts would affect the sick and disabled and those who don't think they can work. Toynbee points out that the Pathways to Work scheme which targets long term IB claimants is highly successful - this scheme supports people with disabilities and those who have problems keeping work and are also affected by poverty traps. If the job does not work out the claimants can return to Incapacity benefit rather than unemployment payments. Rather than supporting the scheme Blair wants a cut across the board and the Tories quietened. (The same Tories who wanted people put on IB to cut numbers on the dole!)

So it might suit Blair if Blunkett goes (although Blair says Blunkett has his full support... famous last words!) - he can put a Blairite non disabled person into the job and get the cuts through. Wonder what Gordon thinks of it all.


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