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Therese Coffey: A meaningless non-announcement.

The Conservatives have promised to end the benefit freeze – next April. Is this another promise that will last until the end of the election?

They really must think we’re stupid. The benefit freeze was always intended to end next year. This is a meaningless non-announcement.

Once benefits do start to rise again, they will only keep pace with rising prices. There will be no increase in living standards.

Initiatives like the £10m fund to help slightly-disabled people into work means those who need extra support will continue to be left behind.

And look at the nonsense Therese Coffey spouted in support:

“We’re clear the best way for people to improve their lives is through work.” Rubbish! If that were true, no working people would be claiming benefits – but under Conservative rule, increasing numbers are having to do just that.

“Our balanced fiscal approach has built a strong economy, with 3.6 million more people in work since 2010.” Rubbish! Productivity is down, and work doesn’t pay.

“It’s that strong economy which allows us to bolster the welfare safety net by increasing benefit payments for working-age claimants now.” Rubbish! The promise is to increase benefits in April – if there’s a Tory government by then.

And why should there be?

Labour will abolish the benefits freeze immediately.

Not only that, it will scrap Universal Credit and put an end to the two-child limit on child benefit.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood pointed out the holes in the Tory offer: “Nobody will be fooled by this cynically timed announcement, which even now will leave the benefits freeze in place until next April.

“Harsh, punitive Conservative policies like the benefits freeze, the two-child limit and the five-week wait [for Universal Credit] have created a society where people are being forced to turn to food banks in ever-increasing numbers just to survive.

“We will ensure that our social security system genuinely protects people from poverty as it should.”

Source: Tories announce end to benefit freeze in move criticised as cynical | Politics | The Guardian