Tag Archives: benefit freeze

End of benefit freeze won’t end choice between heating and eating because increases will be too low

Citizens Advice has just confirmed what many of us have known for some time – that the end of the Tory benefit freeze won’t help people who are struggling to make ends meet.

The simple fact is that the freeze, alongside inflationary price increases, mean people on benefits simply don’t receive enough to afford the basic human rights.

And any increase approved by the Tories will only continue the hardship.

So, if you’re on benefits – even if you’re working – you still have to decide between buying food or heating your home.

According to Citizens Advice, the number of people who are unable to cover basic living costs has increased since the benefits freeze came into force in 2016.

In the first five months of the current financial year, 40 per cent of the people the charity helped with debt who claim income-related benefits didn’t have enough money to cover their living costs – an increase of 25% since the freeze came into effect.

However, the charity argues that ending the freeze won’t be enough to help people … and are calling for wider reforms to the benefits system to ensure that payments cover day-to-day living costs.

This includes ensuring Universal Credit gives people enough to live on by reviewing areas such as the amount of money retained by working claimants, and deductions for those dealing with debts or repaying advance payments.

Fat chance!

We’ve been down this road enough times already. The Tories won’t budge.

They know it pushes people into hardship; they know it nudges some people to consider – and others, regrettably, to go through with – suicide. And they simply don’t care. It’s time we all understood that.

Source: Ending the benefits freeze is unlikely to help those forced to choose between heating and eating

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Tories promise end to benefit freeze next year. So what? That’s exactly when it was expected to end.

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

The Tories’ cruel benefit freeze continues – this year it will take £560 from poor families

Cruel: Philip Hammond.

Still-(just)-Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring statement included a note of despair for poorer families – including those in work.

Anybody receiving benefits will have them frozen for a fourth year running, meaning families will have lost £560 each that would otherwise have been added to their earnings.

That’s according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – but the real-terms loss could be much greater.

Brexit is robbing the UK of much of its economic muscle, meaning goods and services are going to be more costly in the future.

And the results of trade deals in the future – particularly if one is with the United States – may rob employees of important rights.

The benefit freeze is economic bullying – softening the most vulnerable of us up, ready to be exploited in the Tories cruel, post-Brexit Britain.

Millions of poorer families are poised to be stripped of £560 each because of the Tories’ cruel benefit freeze, economic experts revealed today.

Chancellor Philip Hammond snubbed calls for an end to the freeze, which has plunged hard-up households into despair, when he delivered his Spring Statement.

His stubborn refusal to loosen the purse strings will pile on the misery for struggling families, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Presenting the think tank’s analysis of the Chancellor’s announcements, director Paul Johnson said today: “There was no reprieve announced for the millions of working age families dependent on benefits – the fourth year of the benefit freeze is going ahead.

“Ten million families will have lost an average of £420 a year as a result of the freeze.

“Ignoring those only affected by the child benefit freeze, seven million poorer families will have lost an average of £560 apiece.”

Source: Cruel Tory benefit freeze set to strip poorer families of £560 each say experts – Mirror Online


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George Osborne admits to conference: ‘I can’t make the economy work!’

'For the privileged few': George Osborne.

‘For the privileged few’: George Osborne.

Of course, he didn’t say so in quite as many words, but that’s what he meant.

Perhaps you need to be convinced?

Okay. According to the BBC, he said in his conference speech today (Monday) that a future Conservative government would freeze benefits paid to people of working age for two years, in order to “save” £3 billion.

This is important because he reckons “an extra £25bn of permanent savings would be needed to eliminate the UK’s deficit”.

“The £3 billion saving is part of £12 billion in welfare reductions previously floated by the chancellor. He also said there would be £13 billion of Whitehall savings, which will include public sector pay restraint.”

How wrong-in-the-head can one man be?

In the same speech as he announced a huge pensions payout to 320,000 people lucky enough to have a relative rich enough to create a large pension pot and unfortunate enough to have died before spending it all, he said he would be continuing to victimise no less than 10 million households, more than half of which are working (the report said half the households affected by the benefit freeze are working, and those affected by public sector pay restraint are, by definition, working).

These are the people who should be building up the economy, and instead, this monumental ignoramus is crushing them down.

The giveaway is the language being used: Osborne reckons the Treasury has to make “savings”.

What he really means is that he thinks the Treasury needs an extra £25 billion per year in order to clear the deficit. Let’s not debate whether his calculations are wrong. They probably are – after all, he has been wrong every year since he took over as Chancellor, why should things be any different now?

Even if he is right about the sum of money involved, he’s looking at the situation the wrong way. If the Treasury needs an extra £25 billion, then why not build up the economy to provide that money?

This would mean telling businesses that working people should be paid a Living – instead of starvation – Wage, providing them with enough money to buy the things they need, rather than depending on benefits. This money would build up the businesses it is paid into, meaning they would require more employees, boosting the taxpaying workforce and the tax take.

We know that the money is available to do this because our business leaders are banking an estimated £120 billion offshore every year, so arguments that they can’t make ends meet just won’t work.

Alas, it seems this plan is nothing but a forlorn hope. Osborne won’t try to build the economy. He’s been too busy shrinking it over the last four and a half long years.

And he’ll never clamp down on tax avoidance schemes for the very rich.

After all, didn’t he devise some of them?

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