Labour welfare plan calculated to show they are tough on benefit claimants

Workers at the Isle of Grain power station hold a demonstration outside Chatham Job Centre Plus in Kent
Workers at the Isle of Grain power station hold a demonstration outside Chatham Job Centre Plus in Kent Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Labour's plan may have its attractions to voters: Taking money from the pension pots of the rich to get the long-term unemployed back into work (whether they like it or not) and reducing the tax burden on everyone. What's not to like?

Well the Conservatives say Labour have already committed to spending this money on other measures and can't spend it twice.

But then this isn't really a commitment; this is what Labour would do if it were in Government now. Labour say they can't foresee the situation come the election and so can't be writing their manifesto just yet.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls during a visit to Workplace in Stratford, east London
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls during a visit to Workplace in Stratford, east London Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

What today's proposals do give Labour is an injection of steel into their work and benefits plans. Jobseekers will HAVE to take the jobs they are offered, or lose their benefits.

This is politically useful before they vote against the Government's proposed benefits caps next week as Labour don't want to be painted as soft on benefit claimants.

Labour also believe it distinguishes their position (help claimants into work), from the Conservatives (help workers not claimants).