There is a certain irony to David Freud’s defection. When he first unveiled his plan to massively expand the role of private providers in finding work for the jobless, the ideas were compelling but largely ignored by politicians. He now joins the Tory frontbench at a time when his welfare plans are as popular in Westminster as apple pie. But his ideas, out in the real world, are facing their first real test.
The early evidence from Freud-style welfare programmes suggest the reforms are harder and more expensive to implement than first envisaged. Freud designed them in the good times, when credit was easy and jobs were aplenty. The core ideas are still sound. But neither Labour nor the Tories have really come to terms with how they will need to be changed to cope with a severe recession and credit crunch. Read more