I can think of another 20th century dictator who had a similarly appalling attitude towards the sick and disabled.
Via The Guardian:
The government’s poverty tsar, Frank Field, has condemned the “bedroom tax” as a form of social engineering that would have made Joseph Stalin proud.
On the eve of the introduction of the change, in which housing benefit will be cut for tenants in social housing with a spare room, the former welfare reform minister predicted that the new system would eventually prove to be more expensive.
Field told the Guardian: “Housing officers are having to go round and tell people and they are in tears. These people have not wanted to be in what the government now defines as the ‘wrong’ house for them to be in.
“The government is introducing social and physical engineering on a scale that Stalin would have been proud of. The way they are doing it is so extraordinary.”
Field, who was appointed by David Cameron as a poverty adviser in 2010, has become disenchanted with the government after he said that ministers had ignored the findings of a report that called for childhood development to be measured at the ages of three and five.
He has established the Springboard project in his Birkenhead constituency, which aims to improve parenting skills by helping mothers from their 12th week of pregnancy.
“We are imprisoned in an education debate which thinks that social class determines children’s educational achievements and their life chances,” he said.
“We now know enough that, while that is so often true, it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be true if we do the sort of smart interventions we are proposing, which work with the grain of human nature.”
The former minister believes that the coming week will be crucial in the evolution of the government’s welfare reforms as the “bedroom tax” is introduced on Monday and Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship universal credit system starts to be rolled out. Amid concerns in Whitehall that universal credit, in which all benefits will be rolled into one, is hopelessly complicated the scheme will now be piloted in just one area rather than four.
Field said: “Universal credit is down to one pilot area because it ain’t working. I thought they could do all the pilot areas because the numbers are going to be so tiny you could fiddle it by doing the calculations manually. But it can’t even do that so where are we with it.
“Universal credit brilliantly deals with the graphs – are you better off or not. But it fails dismally to deal with real people in that a growing number of people do not think just being better off by a few quid is worth working for and want a multiple of their benefit levels.”
Field believes the “bedroom tax” – or the “spare room subsidy”, as the prime minister prefers to call it – is doomed to fail: “It is Treasury driven. There are always schemes in the department like this horrible one which civil servants take off the shelf.”
Field says the change is flawed because housing associations have been encouraged to build two- and three-bedroom accommodation “irrespective of what the size of the population is”. He says the government will initially save £500m because many people will take a cut in housing benefit because they cannot move.
But he added: “I have constituents who don’t want to but may break up their own circle of friends and go and live somewhere else. But it will cost more. The housing benefit bill will go up because rent levels you can go up to in the private sector are larger than in the public sector.”