The Conservatives aim to protect the ‘most vulnerable’. How’s that going?

Dr. Frances Ryan

The Conservatives like to talk about protecting “the vulnerable”. From the early days of the coalition onwards, the reassurance that no matter how bad things got, the people who truly needed help would be shielded from the cuts has been the linchpin in everything George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith have done.

“It is our purpose to protect the most vulnerable – it has been from the beginning and will continue to be so,” as Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, put it recently.

I wonder how well the government thinks that’s going.

Take emergency hardship payments for the people having their benefits sanctioned – a system that, as was reported last week, is now removing the benefits of one in six jobseekers each year and is under scrutiny from the UK statistics watchdog. I warned in March about the irony of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP)…

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