In the last few days it has emerged that a housing association in Wales offered each of its tenants a free Cadbury’s Creme Egg if they popped into their offices over the Easter holidays. The brown, ovoid, white-and-yellow-fondant-filled treat was offered alongside free financial advice for tenants who – due to massive social security cuts, and the housing association having to apply and enforce the bedroom tax charges or lose money themselves and perhaps have to be poor – were finding themselves unable to make the money that they really ought to be receiving magically appear in their bank accounts overnight.
“It’s a really good idea,” said Regina Busybody, a local middle class married woman who volunteers everywhere and has a really good self-described “rapport” with the underclass, “Poor people are a bit like children in that they respond really well to positive reinforcement for good behaviour, and quite often we see the opposite, we see people treating them like dogs instead, just punishing them, and it’s awful. I tell you one thing, I won’t be voting Tory in the next election.”
Regina is a coordinator at a local foodbank, where she hands out simple processed carbohydrates and tinned meat of dubious origin to hungry people who the government says would only spend emergency food money on drugs, alcohol and Sky TV and therefore fail to receive adequate nutrition. “Yes, we see all sorts of people here, it would break your heart really; they’re at rock bottom, often with a couple of kids in tow, and your heart goes out to them it really does. I always try to pop a little treat into the bag if there are children involved in the claim, and honestly it does make all the difference – I think it’s lovely that the housing association thought to give the gift of a Creme Egg over the Easter Holidays.”
Regina’s sentiment is not shared however by the powers that be at the DWP. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith very nearly choked on his customary morning porridge – salted with the distilled tears of the sanctioned – when his very wealthy aristocratic wife Betsey pointed out the story on Twitter. “Goddammit,” exclaimed the quiet man, “If I have to make most of my extra-parliamentary cash whoring myself up and down the country doing after-dinner speeches without so much as a free Bassett’s Jelly Baby, these plebeians cannot and will not receive free Cadbury chocolate as a reward for being in debt!”
Duncan Smith hurriedly drafted a bill to be voted upon in the Commons that would require all people in debt to the government to detail every free item received while on the repayment plan along with (if the poor person decides not to sell the item straight away) the reasons given for not selling it in order to help pay off their debt faster. The bill passed with a comfortable majority, with most Labour Party members either abstaining from voting or voting the same way as the Tories and Lib Dems – the only notable exception being Dennis Skinner who shouted something about miners, pasties and dead Margaret Thatcher before finally buggering off in his time machine to the past where he will be happy.
Labour have promised to reverse the measure if the public vote for them in 2015.