David Cameron: Labour is the party of 'unlimited welfare'

Prime Minister hit back after the Labour leader accused ministers of drawing up tax policies designed to benefit wealthy supporters

David Cameron has denounced Labour as the party of “unlimited welfare” in acrimonious clashes with Ed Miliband at Prime Minister’s Question Time.

He hit back after the Labour leader accused ministers of drawing up tax policies designed to benefit wealthy supporters who are “on their Christmas card list”.

Mr Cameron described the shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, who was barracking him, as a bully and added: “He can dish it out but he can’t take it.”

Mr Miliband retaliated with a reference to the exclusive Oxford University drinking club that the Prime Minister belonged to as a student. The Labour leader said: “I’ve heard everything when the boy from the Bullingdon Club lectures people on bullying. Have you wrecked a restaurant recently?”

Their exchanges were dominated by George Osborne’s announcement in last week’s Autumn Statement that increases to most working-age benefits will be limited to one per cent – effectively as cut as inflation is currently more than double that rate.

Mr Miliband said the Chancellor was trying to play “divide and rule” by portraying those on benefits as “scroungers”.

He said: “[Mr Osborne] said it was the shirkers, the people with the curtains drawn, who would be affected.”

Mr Cameron hit back: “Welfare needs to be controlled. Everyone who is on tax credits will be affected by these changes because we have to get on top of the welfare bill.

“That is why we are restricting the increase on out-of-work benefits and it is also the reason why we are restricting in-work benefits.”

But he said the increase in the personal income tax allowance showed “we believe in cutting people’s taxes when they are in work”.

Mr Miliband said the benefits rise would hit more people in work than without a job.

“Despite the impression given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, over 60 per cent of those affected are in work.

“It’s the factory worker on the night shift, it’s the carer who looks after elderly people around the clock and it’s the cleaner who cleans the Chancellor’s office while his curtains are still drawn and he’s still in bed.

“The Chancellor calls them scroungers, what does the Prime Minister call them?”

Mr Cameron said a person working full-time on the minimum wage would see their income tax bill halved under the coalition Government.

“We are saying to working people you can earn another £3,000 before you even start paying income tax,” he said. “This is the party for people who work, his is the party of unlimited welfare.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test