Local benefit caps: Labour try to square the circle

A day is a long time in politics. Barely 48 hours ago the Welsh (Labour) government dismissed a Labour idea for a local benefits cap.

"As with regional pay, we totally reject this idea," said a spokesman.

Fast forward 24 hours to the Commons and the man behind the idea of a local benefit cap, shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne, was asked whether he had discussed the idea with his colleagues in Wales.

Mr Byrne told the Commons: "We have indeed had discussions with our colleagues in the Welsh government, who accept the importance of introducing different arrangements for London and other parts of the country and of a solution that recognises the need to localise the benefits system".

The need to square the circle is an occupational hazard in politics, that doesn't sound like a "total rejection" to me.

UPDATE: A Welsh government spokesman e-mails this statement: "The Welsh government does not support the introduction of either a regional or localised welfare benefit cap.

"Local variations in housing costs have existed within the benefits system across the UK for decades."

That's cleared that one up then.