Osborne comments on Philpott case stoke debate on welfare

City A.M. Reporter
CHANCELLOR George Osborne yesterday reignited the ongoing row over the British welfare system as he commented on the case of Mick Philpott, a man living on benefits who was this week convicted of killing six of his children in a house fire.

Osborne was asked whether Philpott was the “vile product” of the welfare system, a charge made by some media including the Daily Mail newspaper.

“Philpott is responsible for these absolutely horrendous crimes and these are crimes that have shocked the nation,” he replied in televised remarks during a visit to the town of Derby, where the tragedy took place in May last year.

“But I think there is a question for government and for society about the welfare state and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state subsidising lifestyles like that, and I think that debate needs to be had,” said Osborne.

The comments drew immediate criticism from the opposition Labour Party and anti-poverty charities, who said Osborne was seeking to score political points from a tragic case which had nothing to do with the wider issue of welfare.

Philpott was sentenced to life in jail yesterday for setting fire to his own house in May 2012 when the six children were asleep upstairs.