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Osborne rounds on his ‘lazy’ critics

12 April 2013


THE Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, hit out at opponents of welfare reform this week, saying that they had fallen into "the lazy habit of opposition", writes Ed Thornton.

Mr Osborne was criticised by church groups, among others, last week for welfare changes which begin to take effect this month (News, 5 April). Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, on Sunday, he said that there was "a set of professional pressure-groups who exist for the purpose of defending every line item either of the entire benefits system or a particular benefit". Such groups simply defended the "status quo", and did not offer an alternative course.

Mr Osborne continued: "What you get with some of these pressure groups is they fall into a lazy habit of opposition."

Mr Osborne did not respond directly when asked whether his criticisms were aimed at charities and churches.

Speaking on Sunday on Radio 4, the Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, the Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, accused the Government and the media of arguing from "baseless myths, based on extreme cases".

The Churches understood that "the welfare pot is not limitless," she said, but the Government should target areas such as tax fraud and "huge gaping loopholes in corporation tax" before it targeted "our most vulnerable, fragile, and marginalised people".

Additional reporting by Rae Boocock

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