Government wave through benefit freeze for another year despite MPs warning it will have an ‘extremely detrimental’ impact. Working age will be frozen for another year, while pensions will rise by 3%
The Government have waved through another year of frozen benefits for millions of working people, despite MPs warning it will have an “extremely detrimental” impact.
Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat MPs lined up to warn about the impact of the policy on a whole host of working age benefits. The motion approved by Parliament will see the state pension rise by 3% next year under the triple lock.
Other payments such as disability benefit Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance and the limited work capability element of Universal Credit will rise by the same amount. However, other payments such as Child Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefits and tax credits will remain frozen under welfare reforms brought in by the Government.
“The Government’s decision to limit the cap on uprating to 1% between 2013 and 2015 and the subsequent freeze on the vast majority of social security payments has seen low-income households suffer a significant deterioration in the adequacy of social security support,” said shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams.
“The freeze to payments and support has had an extremely detrimental impact upon millions of people on low incomes across the UK.”
MPs heard that the rate of inflation has more than doubled, squeezing living costs, while FTSE 250 bosses have seen their pay rise by 11% in the past two years.
Labour former shadow welfare minister Kate Green said failing to uprate many benefits served “to embed meanness into our social security system”, while Lib Dem welfare spokesman Stephen Lloyd said the consequences were “absolutely deplorable”.
Neil Gray, the SNP’s social justice spokesman, said the Government only intended to make savings of £3.5 billion, but higher inflation meant the freeze was likely to save in the region of £5.2 billion.
“It is time to end the freeze and lift children out of poverty,” he added.
Work and Pensions minister Kit Malthouse said the Government would spend an extra £4.2 billion next year as a result of the uplift. “We are helping the poorest pensioners who count on pensions credit, and providing support to disabled people and their carers,” he said.
“There seems to be a kind of Stockholm Syndrome attachment to the old benefits system on the opposition benches despite the fact that this system is very obviously a fraud perpetrated upon the poor, more often than not designed to keep them poor rather than give them the tools and the ladders to climb to take control of their own lives and take financial control of that of their families into the future.”