Labour accused of “creating poverty state”

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaks to workers at Dunster House during a Gemeral Election campaign visit to Bedford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 22, 2015. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Prime Minister David Cameron, speaks to workers at Dunster House during a Gemeral Election campaign visit to Bedford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday April 22, 2015. Photo credit should read: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

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David Cameron has accused the Labour party of trapping people in welfare as he attacks the party’s record on benefits.

The Prime Minister highlighted Tory pledges on doubling free childcare for three and four-year-olds, and hailed the flagship universal credit scheme as a way of getting people out of the benefits trap.

Together with commitments to increase the minimum wage and raise the personal allowance, it meant that the Conservatives were the real “party of work”, he argued.

The attack, in a speech in the marginal Bedford constituency, came as the Tories hammer home their message about the danger of an Ed Miliband government propped up by the nationalists, who look set to sweep the board in Scotland.

Spelling out the “choice” in the election, Mr Cameron said welfare had soared under Labour, and the SNP did not “care” what happens in England and Wales.

“The Labour Party? Really? The name’s an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act,” he said.

“And be clear: if they get back into power we will be back where we were before, back with the mum turning down a job offer because it’s just not worth it, the dad making sure he doesn’t exceed 16 hours’ work a week so it doesn’t affect his tax credits, the child who’s asked what he wants to do when he grows up - and says ‘nothing’.

“Make no mistake - with the SNP holding a Miliband government to ransom it would be even worse.

“After all, what do the SNP care about families in England getting free childcare? What do they care about cutting taxes? They’re more interested in spending hardworking people’s money.

“What do they care about making work pay? They said on Monday they would stop universal credit.

“What do they care about helping people across the UK into work? They don’t even want a United Kingdom.

“No - they want to expand welfare - failing more children, trapping more families and dragging Britain down.”

Mr Cameron said a Conservative government would double the free childcare allocation for three and four-year-olds from 15 to 30 hours per week. The pledge would provide nine million more hours of free childcare a week and households where both parents work more than eight hours weekly would be eligible - benefiting to the tune of £5,000 a year.

But Liberal Democrat equalities minister Jo Swinson said: “Tory plans for childcare ignore working families with the youngest children, which could leave some parents locked out of the labour market for years on end.

“Lib Dem plans would extend early-years education to all two-year-olds and ensure that free childcare support kicks in as soon as paid parental leave ends for children where both parents work. This will help with the cost of childcare and ensure working parents have a genuine choice about when to return to work.”

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