Tory candidate slams crime commissioner's bedroom tax-crime link
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
Tory candidate slams crime commissioner's bedroom tax-crime linkImage: Housing via Shutterstock
A prospective Tory parliamentary candidate has slammed a police and crime commissioner’s claim that a rise in shoplifting can be linked to the government's controversial bedroom tax.
Rebecca Coulson, the Tory electoral candidate for Durham, has described Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Ron Hogg's "uncontextualised percentage-based statistics" as "futile".
Back in July, Hogg, along with Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger, expressed concerns that the under-occupancy policy was forcing its victims to turn to crime and loan sharks.
However, writing on the Conservative Home website, Coulson said that Hogg "conceded" in a radio debate that a 29% shoplifting increase in the wake of the bedroom tax represented "just 386 extra cases, over a whole county, in a three-month period".
Coulson wrote: "Correlation doesn’t equal causation. Several other Labour commissioners have suggested a link between shoplifting and welfare, and all have abandoned it pretty quickly, each confessing a lack of evidence for their claims.
"If we accepted that two sets of statistics behaving similarly meant they were dependent, or indeed that that statistical development was simply caused by concurrent change, we would be guilty of very narrow thinking."
Speaking in July, Hogg said: "We predicted that this tax would cause massive problems for some of the most vulnerable in our society. With more welfare reform yet to be implemented the situation will only get worse."
In her article, Coulson defended the Tory-led coalition's welfare reforms, claiming the government had "inherited a bloated welfare system which was neither viable in times of economic stricture, nor providing any incentive for people to work".
Taking aim at Hogg and Coppinger, she added that "we mustn’t make excuses for criminal behaviour. Apologism of this kind is incendiary, offensive, and exploitative. It’s dangerous to sink into blame culture: we’re all guilty of it, but when law- enforcers use it to condone criminality, we risk chaos."