Cameron lies about Housing Benefit at PMQs today. He said:
“All parties are committed, as I understand it, to reform housing benefit. That was Labour’s commitment before the last election. The housing benefit bill is completely out of control. Labour’s own welfare spokesman said last week that at £20 billion, it was unacceptable and it had to change and what we’ve seen so far, as housing benefit has been reformed and reduced, is that actually we have seen rent levels come down. So we’ve stopped ripping off the taxpayer.”
Cameron said “…as housing benefit has been reformed and reduced”
Housing Benefit has indeed undergone reform and as some of the HB changes have become operational it is correct to say that HB has been reformed. Yet;
Has Housing Benefit has been reduced? No it hasn’t and that must be a knowing lie by Cameron.
The official HB figures produced by DWP reveal that this is not the case. They reveal at May 2010 that there were 4.751,530 HB claims in-payment (see tab 4) each receiving £84.20 (see tab 5). This makes an ‘inherited’ overall HB bill of £20,875,541,599 or £20.88 billion
Whereas the latest official figures for the position at September 2100 reveal that 4,934,110 HB claims are in-payment (tab 4) each receiving £87.01 (tab 5) making an overall HB bill of £22,401,143,111 or £22.4 billion.
This is an increase of £1,525,601,512 or £1.53billion since the coalition took office 610 days ago and means the HB bill has been rising by £2,500,986, or £2.5million pounds per day.
In summary the facts prove Cameron has misled Parliament with this statement. The HB issue was raised as a patsy question by a Conservative MP (Nick Boles) and Cameron must have known what the question was in advance, and hence could have this researched, proves to me that it must be a lie rather than a simple mistake by Cameron.
UPDATE 23 APRIL 2012
The above post was issued within an hour of Cameron’s lies above back in January 2012. It’s pertinent to revisit the claim by Cameron that “…housing benefit has been reformed and reduced…” as we are now three months on and have the official figures for January 2012 published last week. We can now see if Cameron’s assertion that the HB bill has reduced was based on information we, the general was not privy to, and he was.
The HB bill for January 2012 shows that HB has increased yet again and has done every month and so Cameron did lie and Cameron did mislead Parliament at PMQs in January.
The latest official figures issued by the DWP I commented upon last week not only show that the HB bill has risen, but that it now stands at £22.6bn and massively above the Coalition target. They are a tale of chronic mismanagement by this Coalition.
However, the key issue is that Cameron no has no defence whatsoever to the claim he did not mislead Parliament at PMQs back in January. Cameron was either ineptly briefed or he chose to deliberately mislead Parliament and the public.
Mislead is of course a euphemism that means someone has lied or misinfomed. Cameron has lied and did lie to Parliament and the public and he needs to correct that. What we cannot be sure of is whether he did this wittingly or unwittingly but there is no doubt he did lie. The fact it may have been an unknowing lie still doesnt detract from the fact that Cameron did lie. He is the Prime Minister and the leader of our country and the parliamentary democracy we have. I restate he has lied to Parliament, and has now categorically and unequivocally been proven to have lied given the official figures produced by his own government that have been released.
When Labours Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey raised this at a subsequent PMQs, Cameron was rudely dismissive of the charge and of Jack Dromey. Now he cant be as dismissive as his own official figures unambiguously show and has no defence to the charge that he did not mislead Parliament.
If Cameron does not apologise to the House, as I suspect he will not, then we need to question whether we indded have (a) a parliamentary democracy and (b) whether we have any form of opposition. Here is a smoking gun for Labour. It is not just a case of getting dates wrong, of a pasty tax, or inept or dangerous advice to keep jerry cans full or petrol in your kitchen or numerous other gaffes or ineptitude, this is the Prime Minister being caught out in a lie and far more serious than any of the above.
The same PM that claimed to buy a pasty in a shop that had closed at least 4 years earlier no less