Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Fourth Anniversary of the Benefit Freeze Plunges More and More People into Deep Poverty.

with 20 comments

Image result for benefits freeze

George Osborne Introduced Benefit Freeze (2015 Budget).

The 2015 Budget introduced a four-year freeze on most working-age benefits and tax credits. This meant that in 2016 and onwards their value remained as it had been in 2015 rather than rising with inflation.

Everybody knows the Benefits Freeze its biting.

On this issue the Government is not split between those who’d like to make Britain a US-style free-market economy, allied with Trump, and with a minimal post-Brexit Welfare state, and those who want to a decent standard of living for all, including those on benefits.

The free-market chancers in the Hard Brexit camp may be the worst in the long term, but each side at the moment is keep the disaster that is Universal Credit, and the linked Benefit Freeze going.

Just how mad and detached from reality they are can be seen from – potential leadership candidate, and present DWP Minister Amber Rudd’s recent tweet:

It’s good to know that the Currant Bun has gone back to the Tory fold, and has dropped its grating efforts to be the Universal Credit claimants best mate.

Perhaps they’ll run this “story”,

Cheery old Woolfy!

The cockles of your heart warmed you can turn to this:

Families likely to be ‘pulled into poverty’ by benefits freeze continuing for another year

The freeze – introduced in 2016 by the then chancellor George Osborne – entered into its fourth year on Monday.

Florence Snead continues in todays ‘I’

More families are likely to be “pulled into poverty” because of the benefits freeze continuing for another year, it has been claimed.

The decision to continue with the cap on working-age benefits and tax credits is “unjustifiable” and will leave families living in poverty on average £560 worse off over the next year, according to a charity.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said this was equivalent to three months of food shopping for an average low-income family.

In the midst of huge political and economic uncertainty, families who have already seen their support eroded know that the coming year will be hard to get through,” said the JRF chief executive, Campbell Robb.

“It’s not right that more parents will face impossible situations – trying to decide which essential bills to pay and what they can cut back on to make it through each week.

“Keeping benefits and tax credits frozen is unjustifiable: 4.1 million children are locked in poverty, nearly three-quarters of whom are in a working household.”

The organisation said ending the freeze would help working families to stay afloat.

“As the Government approaches its spending review, it needs to look at how best to protect people from harm who are otherwise left without an anchor in uncertain times,” Mr Robb added.

The JRF was among nine charities which wrote to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, in February urging him to end the freeze this year.

It said continuing the freeze until April 2020 would result in 200,000 more people being locked into poverty.

Nigel Grey MP MP wrote on Monday on Politics Home:

Today marks the beginning of the fourth year of the benefit freeze. Like many of the UK government’s failures – the Windrush Scandal, the shambolic implementation and rollout of Universal Credit, the appalling neglect child refugees – if Brexit wasn’t happening, the disastrous impact of the benefit freeze would be plastered across the front-pages on an almost daily basis.

The benefit freeze was introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act in 2016, and freezes most working-age benefits at the same value as in 2015/16. In practice, what this means is that while Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 6.5% since the freeze was brought in, the benefits that many working-age people rely on have not increased at all.

This Tory government has implemented a massive real-terms cut to people’s income, and it’s having a catastrophic impact on people’s lives. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation have said the benefit freeze will have affected more than 27 million people across the UK and will have pushed 400,000 people into poverty by 2020.

On top of this, with Brexit pushing up inflation, the benefit freeze will cut another £4.4 billion this year – nearly a billion more than intended out of the pockets of those least able to bear it.

Moral outrage

The freeze includes benefits for children, as well as support for disabled people looking for work. Targeting austerity at disadvantaged children and disabled people is nothing short of a moral outrage and this Tory government should hang their heads in shame.

Theresa May and her government have taken almost no action to boost support for people who rely on social security. In one year, the benefit freeze cut will more than wipe out the total investment in the Work Allowance boost up to 2022 that was announced in the 2018 Budget.

Advance payments of Universal Credit which are meant to help people during the five week wait are, in fact, just loans that have to be paid back to DWP. And the two-child cap on Child Tax Credit is taking thousands away from families with more than two children.

A tragedy and a farce

Moreover, the revolving office-door of the Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) is both a tragedy and a farce. The idea that the Department chiefly responsible for the wellbeing of poor, elderly and vulnerable people is being used as a platform from which Tory MPs can hop, skip or jump depending on which way the political wind blows is indicative of the contempt the UK government has for the disadvantaged and the marginalised.

The benefit freeze represents one of the biggest cuts to social security we have seen in recent times, yet Labour didn’t even bother to mention it in their last manifesto and the current DWP Secretary has shown nothing but apathy towards evidence of its terrible impact.

The cuts imposed by the UK government have and will further entrench poverty across the UK.

This is a political choice, not a necessity. One of the quickest ways this Government could put money back into people’s pockets would be to lift the freeze immediately and up-rate benefits with inflation.

 

Neil Gray is SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts and the SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 9, 2019 at 3:38 pm

20 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.

    A6er

    April 9, 2019 at 3:52 pm

  2. The DWP admits destroying its own report into dangerous conduct towards welfare claimants

    One of the report authors described incidents she witnessed of DWP policy endangering social security recipients. She heard one of the job-centre staff explain that a claimant should be found ‘fit for work’ “so he’s looking forward to the future”. He had spine cancer and needed someone to change his dressing daily.

    https://www.thecanary.co/uk/news/2019/04/08/the-dwp-admits-destroying-its-own-report-into-dangerous-conduct-towards-welfare-claimants/

    ken

    April 9, 2019 at 8:46 pm

  3. This is all part of the Tory plan for a new, American style limited welfare system. Starting ten years ago with the government campaign against claimants. Introducing workfare, the Work Programme, Mandatory Work Activity and all the rest. The deliberate attack on disability benefits. Changing the actual definition of disability itself.
    So that medically sick and disabled people are now deemed fit for work. Even the terminally ill must now rise from their sickbeds and go into work. It’s all part of a long-term strategy to completely change the whole concept of benefits, unemployment and disability in the UK.
    And with no effective opposition, who is going to stop them from completing their master plan ?

    Jeff Smith

    April 9, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    • It’s not going to happen, love, for the simple reason that Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and the Labour Party won’t allow it. The Tories will have one bloody great big fight on their hands if they try any of this nonsense.

      Margaret

      April 10, 2019 at 11:32 am

      • Somehow I don’t think so Margaret.
        It’s the same with Jeremy Corbyn & John McDonnell as it was with Ed Miliband.
        Labour did next to nothing to oppose any of the welfare changes.
        They voted for the Welfare Reform Act 2012. This meant Universal Credit going ahead unopposed.
        Even now, Labour are basically doing nothing about the continued roll-out of Universal Credit.
        So what is there to wait for as far as the Labour Party is concerned ?

        Jeff Smith

        April 10, 2019 at 12:43 pm

  4. It’s all part of a long-term strategy to completely change the whole concept of benefits, unemployment and disability in the UK.

    Thats true but there are cases where the two can conflict,having one government department saying on thing and another saying another.For example the DVLA will look at something differently then DWP.

    https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving

    The DVLA can put someone at a further disadvantage.

    ken

    April 10, 2019 at 3:56 pm

  5. Universal credit leaves food bank with empty shelves as they say ‘We just can’t keep up’

    Volunteers say their stocks are being hammered as people are ‘pushed further into poverty’ by Universal Credit

    One volunteer told North Wales Live that the conditions people are living in are “scary”, adding: “People are basically being left to rot”.

    https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/universal-credit-benefits-food-banks-16105616

    ken

    April 10, 2019 at 5:30 pm

  6. I things go tits up after Brexit, if it happens, expect either another working-age benefits freeze or very low sub-inflation upratings and watch millions of the poor and vulnerable sink into ever increasing poverty for years possibly forever.

    Ro

    April 11, 2019 at 8:07 am

    • According to British intelligence brexit happened as legally required on March 29th, despite posturing by politicians who pretend it has not.

      A visible sign of this is the fact that British passports issued after that date do not include a mention of the European Union, so do not trust any main stream media outlet whatsoever.

      Violet

      April 11, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      • Indeed, Violet! It has got that whole someone-who-has-lost-their-job-but-still-pretends-to-go-to-work feel about it all.

        Rose

        April 11, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      • Yep we are being taken for tw@ts once again, probably one of the reasons Assange has been arrested is to distract us from the brexit pantomime!

        Tigerlily

        April 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    • People say that after Brexit people without work will get to do the jobs that foreigners used to fill. I hope that’s true but you never know. Keeping my fingers crossed both for myself and the rest of people reading these words struggling to survive on inadequate benefits.

      Steve-O

      April 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

  7. Highlands left millions of pounds ‘out of pocket’ by Universal Credit roll out

    The Department of Work and Pensions says Universal Credit should not leave councils out of pocket and yet despite Highland Council providing evidence to show costs of £2.5million, including £640,000 of additional administration costs, they still have no offer from her government.

    “They’re doing a runner and every household in the Highlands is bearing the costs of Universal Credit, isn’t it time her government paid their bill?”

    Mrs May responded saying Universal Credit was “encouraging people into work”.

    https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/politics/westminster/1721078/highlands-left-millions-of-pounds-out-of-pocket-by-universal-credit-roll-out/

    I agree with Ro,I was talking to a local bus driver this morning who said he drove bendy buses’ in Malta and is leaving this country soon because of the quality of life here,he went on its the people at the bottom that are feeling it.There’s a sence of doom and gloom out there.

    Ken Unemployed Action

    April 11, 2019 at 1:57 pm

  8. I’m losing track of all the ministers in DWP jobs but this is one of the latest:

    Andrew Coates

    April 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

    • Just about what you can expect really. They know what they are doing is wrong.
      But they just keep on doing it anyway.

      Andrew Thornton

      April 12, 2019 at 10:04 am

  9. Well, that £4.2 Billion pounds wasted on No Deal Brexit. Some people think that we aren’t really going to leave at all. That the whole Brexit campaign was just an expensive illusion.

    ”I’m backing Britain, yes I’m backing Britain
    We’re all backing Britain today
    The feeling is growing so let’s keep it going
    The good times are blowing our way” – Bruce Forsyth 1968

    Alan Turner

    April 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    • I don’t think they will fully leave the EU and some form of arrangments such as custom’s will come into the frame.

      signin on

      April 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    • I actually remember that at primary school!

      It sounded pretty stupid even then.

      Andrew Coates

      April 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm

  10. Tragic man who killed himself after running out of cash for electricity left sarcastic note ‘thanking’ Universal Credit bosses

    The government’s controversial benefit payment was the ‘trigger’ for the struggling 62-year-old to take his own life, an inquest heard

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8847451/man-killed-himself-running-out-cash-electricity-meter-universal-credit/

    signin on again

    April 12, 2019 at 3:37 pm


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