Tory Benefit Freeze Cutting Family Incomes by £1.7BN More Than Planned

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Monday November 13 2017

The chancellor must use the budget to reverse the cuts and boost incomes.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been called upon to end the Tory benefits freeze and boost family incomes at this month’s Autumn Budget - after new figures revealed families are set to lose £1.7billion more than intended in support due to rising inflation.

The figures from the House of Commons Library show that while the four-year benefits freeze, introduced by the Tory government in April 2016, was intended to result in £3.5billion of cuts to social security support by 2019/20, it could now result in £5.2billion of cuts, due to rising inflation – leaving hard-pressed low-income households with even less money to rely on.

The freeze, originally announced by George Osborne, has continued under Philip Hammond despite mounting evidence that families are being pushed into poverty and crisis as a result.

It covers most working age benefits including Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, and Child Benefit - with the equivalent elements under Universal Credit also frozen.

On Monday, a report by Child Poverty Action Group warned the Tories had “broken” their promise to make work pay, creating “an austerity generation whose childhoods and life chances will be scarred”, by cutting thousands of pounds from family incomes, which they said could put 1million more children in poverty.

A report by the Resolution Foundation last week revealed Universal Credit cuts would see working families lose an average of £625 a year, with working single parents losing out by an average of £1,350 a year, and 1.1million two parent families losing an average of £2,770 a year.

Commenting Neil Gray MP (pictured), said:

“Tory cuts to family incomes are having a devastating impact on millions of people across the country – leaving many households in poverty, debt and destitution, and forcing parents to turn to emergency aid and food banks just to feed their children.

“It is national disgrace – that the Chancellor must urgently address in this month’s Autumn Budget, by ending the benefits freeze, halting the botched roll-out of Universal Credit, and giving a much-needed boost to family incomes.

“We live in one of the richest countries in the world but while the wealthiest have benefitted from Tory tax cuts for the highest earners, the majority of families are have seen a Tory pay cut – with cuts to support, wages lower in real terms than they were a decade ago, and a rising cost of living.

“With a Tory extreme Brexit set to make families even poorer – the UK government must use this budget to reverse these cuts and boost household incomes.”



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