The dishonesty of a Conservative Government defies belief when it comes to benefit for the poor, funded by public money.
We have already worked out that the planned changes to Universal Credit will mean people will have to work an extra 200 hours, in order to maintain their income at the current rate.
Iain Duncan Smith’s goal has never been “making work pay”, as many previous articles on This Blog have shown, and the possibility of him being persuaded to revert to a 2009 plan are minimal.
And the fact that these findings are being publicised by Alan Milburn is no comfort. He was one of the right-wing Labour MPs who promoted private involvement in public services heavily – including the NHS. This Blog considers him to be an example of Tory entryism into the Labour Party.
He’ll probably end up saying the Tories should scrap social security altogether and give it to private insurance companies.
The Government’s advisers on child poverty have urged George Osborne to make a second welfare U-turn, to prevent his proposed cuts to in-work benefits destroying the incentive to work for millions of low-paid people.
Alan Milburn, who chairs the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, has joined those warning the Chancellor that his decision last month to scrap his £4.4bn of cuts in tax credits will merely postpone the impact on those who rely on state-funded wage top-ups. Mr Osborne is accused of implementing virtually identical cuts through the back door – via the phasing in of universal credit, which will merge six benefits including tax credits over the next few years. He has been warned he will be hurting people from low-income families who “do the right thing” by working hard.
Mr Milburn, a Labour former cabinet minister, told The Independent: “Without changes to universal credit, George Osborne’s welcome decision to reverse planned tax credit changes will merely defer the pain for many low-paid working families.
“As the economy strengthens, the Government should look to reverse cuts to universal credit so that this key welfare reform can improve work incentives. It should take the opportunity in 2016 to set out a timetable for doing so.”
The commission has warned Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, that his goal of “making work pay” may not now be delivered. In a report to ministers, the commission says: “Worse still, there is a risk that incentives to progress in work for many families could end up being worse than they were in the pre-2010 system.” It is worried that people will be deterred from working longer hours or moving to better-paid jobs.
The watchdog says ministers should implement Mr Duncan Smith’s original 2009 plan, which would allow people on universal credit to keep 45p of every extra £1 they earn, instead of 35p under the Government’s plans.
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