Posts Tagged ‘Benefit Freeze’
Furtive Looking Damian Green Under Pressure.
Chancellor Philip Hammond facing calls from own party to review four-year benefit freeze
reports the Independent.
This excellently researched report (which readers of the ‘I’ will have noted yesterday) is very welcome:
Exclusive: It comes after The Independent revealed earlier this month the Government had underestimated the severity of its four-year freeze on working-age benefits, with the cap now set to hit claimants by almost 50 per cent more than official estimates.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is facing calls from within his own party to review the four-year freeze on working-age benefits to alleviate the pressures on those with the lowest incomes in Britain.
It comes after The Independent revealed earlier this month the Government had grossly underestimated the severity of its four-year freeze on working-age benefits, with the cap now set to hit claimants by almost 50 per cent more than official estimates.
An analysis by the House of Commons Library showed that, due to rising inflation, the measure introduced last year is now expected to reduce support for those on low incomes by £13bn over the next four years, compared with the Government’s own forecast of £9bn.
Heidi Allen, a Conservative MP on the Work and Pensions Select Committee, told The Independent the Chancellor needed to look again at the policy.
“I see it principally because of Brexit that economically things were going to get turbulent, and that’s why we pushed so hard to get some money pumped back into universal credit, which as you’ll know we got a modest improvement on the taper rate – a couple of per cent,” she said.
“I remember saying it at the time: ‘We’re not through this yet’. If inflation picks up, people are going to be in trouble and that’s where we are.”
Asked whether she thought Mr Hammond should review the policy, Ms Allen replied: “I do.”
Ms Allen said the Chancellor has to look seriously at injecting money back either into the work allowances or the taper rates in universal credit in line with where inflation is heading. One possible solution would be redirecting the finances put into the raising of the tax threshold, she added.
“Otherwise while the raising of the tax threshold was great, it’s a bit of a headline because it affects absolutely everybody,” she said.
“It’s a pretty crude and blunt instrument in terms of having a positive impact on incomes because it doesn’t focus in on those who really need it.
We observe that inflation in the prices of basics is pretty visible, visit the supermarket for a start…
This is worth noting,
Debbie Abrahams, the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said the four-year freeze in social security payments, coupled with the increase in inflation, will “feel like a cut to families who are already struggling”.
“Millions of people who rely on tax credits, universal credit, employment and support allowance and other forms of social security will see their living standards fall even further. Many more children and disabled people will face poverty,” she added.
Ms Abrahams also said Jeremy Corbyn’s party would reverse the cuts to in-work support that “will see 2.5 million families worse off by an average of £2,100 a year”.
A Government spokesperson said: “By cutting taxes for millions of people, giving the lowest earners a pay rise with the National Living Wage, doubling free childcare for nearly 400,000 parents and freezing fuel duty, we are helping people who need it most.”