The Government’s pledge to find £12bn in savings from the welfare budget will require ‘significant cuts’ to non-protected benefits, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
Outside of protecting spending on state pension and universal pensioner benefits, the Conservatives would need to find savings on the a scale amounting to almost 10% of unprotected benefits, just to meet their 2015 manifesto pledge.
The IFS says, “finding the sought after £12 billion of cuts in just two years will not be easy”.
“Finding such a reduction without cutting child benefit, which has been pledged this week, would mean that even more significant cuts would likely be required to spending on one or more of tax credits, housing benefit and disability & incapacity benefits”.
Chancellor George Osborne has been accused of “misleading” the public on the extent of planned cuts.
To meet its overall spending target, even after slashing £12bn from welfare expenditure, the government would still need to accelerate cuts to other unprotected government departments.
Other than the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), unprotected departments include the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and the Department for Transport.
According to the IFS, “cuts would need to increase from the 2.0% a year seen over the five years from 2010–11 to 2015–16, to 2.2% a year over the three years from 2015–16 to 2018–19″.
“This would give a total cut of £23.8 billion across all departments between 2015–16 and 2018–19. That’s on top of the £2.2 billion of cuts taking place in 2015–16 and the £49.2 billion of cuts delivered between 2009–10 and 2014–15.