Campaigners say the government’s decision to enforce a freeze on working-age benefits from April – even though older people will see their pensions increase by 2.9 per cent – will further entrench disability poverty.
The annual “uprating” of working-age benefit rates was decided last October, and are based on the CPI (consumer price index) rate for September, which showed that measure of inflation at minus 0.1 per cent.
CPI has since risen to 0.2 per cent in December, and could rise higher over the next few months.
But because of the “triple lock” rules introduced under the coalition, pensions will rise by 2.9 per cent, equivalent to the increase in average wages.
There was already anger at a freeze to many working-age benefits that will last until 2020, which was announced by chancellor George Osborne in last summer’s budget.
But Osborne’s freeze did not apply to benefits such as disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP), attendance allowance (AA) and the support group component of employment and support allowance (ESA).
Now, thanks to the decision to follow last September’s CPI, working-age benefits including DLA, PIP, AA and the ESA support group component will be set at exactly the same rate in 2016-17 as they were in 2015-16.
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