The government’s reported package of welfare cuts in next month’s budget, including a £5bn cut to child tax credit, would overwhelmingly hit the poorest third of families in the UK, new research shows.
The research, by the Resolution Foundation thinktank that specialises in living standards, puts a question mark over the political feasibility of the government pressing ahead with £12bn in welfare cuts on its 2017-18 planned timetable.
David Cameron has ruled out cuts to child benefit and to the £85bn pensions bill, leaving Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, to look at cuts to tax credits, housing benefit (where a 10% cut would save £2.5bn) and some disability benefits.
David Gauke, the financial secretary to the Treasury, last week reiterated that the new fiscal mandate proposed by the chancellor, George Osborne, did not mean the timetable of cuts proposed at the election, including a £12bn cut to welfare, was slipping.
Osborne, who is due to take prime minister’s questions for the first time this Wednesday in the absence of Cameron, refused throughout the election campaign to spell out details of the cuts.