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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Are the Tories credible on social justice?

There is an interesting article on the Spectator blog by Isabel Hardman, which suggests that David Cameron has decided that social justice will be his key legacy theme as Prime Minister, with his autumn conference speech and most of the announcements so far this year focusing on an ‘all-out assault on poverty’.

In addition, Isabel Hardman tells us that a private group of Tory MPs has formed to try to help develop a stronger social justice agenda in their party which might help the Prime Minister, and whoever succeeds him, develop a proper Tory plan for tackling poverty.

She says that its members describe the group as a ‘compassionate Conservative caucus’, and it includes an interesting bunch of members, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Alistair Burt, David Burrowes, Stephen Crabb, Ruth Davidson, and Nadhim Zahawi.

She adds that number 10 officials also attended the group’s first meeting, which took place yesterday afternoon in Parliament, and included a talk from Bill Gates on tackling global health inequalities.

This is an intriguing development and illustrates very well, how Labour in-fighting has left the door open for others to occupy ground that has traditionally been their territory.

More to the point, what credibility do the Tories have on this issue given their record since they assumed the sole reins of power? Abortive attempts to cut tax credits have now been followed by planned cuts to Universal Credit.

The changes mean that anyone applying for Universal Credit from 2017 would be £1000 worse off and those trying to get into work will find it even harder. How does that fit in with a social justice agenda?
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