John Harris

Journalist & Author

Politics Weekly podcast: the week welfare changed; social class; and Paolo Di Canio

The beginning of a new financial year meant the introduction of a clutch of changes to the state benefits system. Access to legal aid has been curtailed, social housing tenants with spare bedrooms will be asked to pay extra for them, council tax benefit will be removed from some recipients and many more changes will have to be negotiated by those of working age who rely on the state for any part of their income.

In a speech to Morrisons supermarket staff in Kent, George Osborne spoke of the necessity of the measures – not merely on grounds of cost, but of a moral imperative. State benefits, he said, were leading to perverse incentives and trapping people in poverty.

Joining Tom Clark this week to discuss this are Guardian columnists John Harris, Martin Kettle and Polly Toynbee.

Also this week: a major new survey on social class in the UK has turned up seven categories instead of the traditional three. Do the major political parties need to take note?

And should extremist political views disqualify someone from certain jobs? The appointment of Paolo Di Canio, an admirer of Mussolini, as the new manager of Sunderland AFC sparked the resignation of David Miliband from the club’s board – and a fierce debate about the new coach’s past political statements.

Leave your thoughts below – and find the podcast on Soundcloud.

We’re taking our spring recess next week – Politics Weekly will return on 18 April.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2013 at 6:37 pm and is filed under Guardian RSS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « We have to talk about why some people agree with benefit cuts | John Harris | Welcome to Toytown: what life is like in new-build Britain »
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