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.”

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on pottermore site this morning

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

Life and Style
Jamie Oliver’s version of Jollof rice led thousands of people to post angry comments on his website
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Early Years Teacher - Jan 2015 - China

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Early Years TeacherRequired: J...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Primary Teachers required - Cardiff and the Vale

£95 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: KS1 ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes