Why the benefits cap is wrong


Today parliament votes on a bill to cap increases in benefits and tax credits at 1% for 2014 – 2015 and 2015 – 2016. Previously, benefits rose in line with prices. However the Coalition’s plans means that entitlements including child tax credits, Jobseeker’s Allowance and working tax credits will face real terms cuts.

A report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that 2.5 million households with no members in work will see a loss in income of £215 a year in 2015-2016 and 7 million households where someone is in work will see a loss of an average of £165 a year.

Iain Duncan Smith has tried to justify this decision by claiming that it is justified by need to reduce the deficit and also for the sake of fairness for those who are working. He has said:

“We don’t take this decision lightly, but we have to get this deficit under control or this country will be bankrupt like Greece and like Spain and we’ll have huge borrowing costs.”

“Secondly, we’re trying to do it in a way that is fair to those who are in work, that are paying tax, who are paying the tax for those people on welfare who receive their welfare payments.”

However, the Welfare Secretary’s attempt to build a divide between the working and the unemployed is undermined by the fact that a majority of households hit by the cap have a member working.

Indeed a report by the Resolution Foundation concludes that “The majority of cuts to benefit and tax credits announced in today’s Autumn Statement will fall on working households”.

It is also important to recognise that this benefits cap will have very harmful effects for the poorest in society. As George Eaton writes:

“By raising benefits by 1 per cent, rather than in line with inflation, which stood at 2.2 per cent in September 2012 (the month traditionally used to calculate benefit increases), the coalition will leave the poorest families even more vulnerable to fluctuations in food and energy prices.

“Inflation is expected to be 2.6 per cent in September 2013 and 2.2 per cent in September 2014, meaning that those families affected will have suffered a cumulative loss of four per cent of income by the end of the period. For many, this will mean being forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.”

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of the Children’s Society argues that:

“From a nurse with two children losing £424 a year by 2015, to the Army second lieutenant with three children losing £552 a year, this will hit children and families from all walks of life.”

“Failure to make sure that benefit rates at the very least reflect rises in the cost of living will deepen inequality and increase poverty.”

The Coalition’s policy may be an attempt to paint Labour as the party of the unemployed, but this is undermined by how such a cap hits working families. Furthermore, people who are struggling to find work in an economy the Conservatives are mismanaging should not be scapegoated.

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  • LordBlagger

    5,010 billion of pensions debts hidden off the books.

    How the hell are you going to pay that, when there are other debts and even at 50% taxation you only get 550 bn of revenue?

    Ah yes, you’ve stolen everyone’s state pension money and spent it.

    Then when it comes to paying it out, who are you going to blame?

    1. Bankers? Bit difficult, they weren’t involved.
    2. The rich? Bit difficult, but you will try. After all the top 5% pays 50% of all income tax. Squeeze harder and the will do a Depardieu.
    3. The poor. Might work.
    4. The Jews? Worked in the 1930s.

  • LordBlagger

    5,010 billion of pensions debts hidden off the books.

    How the hell are you going to pay that, when there are other debts and even at 50% taxation you only get 550 bn of revenue?

    Ah yes, you’ve stolen everyone’s state pension money and spent it.

    Then when it comes to paying it out, who are you going to blame?

    1. Bankers? Bit difficult, they weren’t involved.
    2. The rich? Bit difficult, but you will try. After all the top 5% pays 50% of all income tax. Squeeze harder and the will do a Depardieu.
    3. The poor. Might work.
    4. The Jews? Worked in the 1930s.

  • Newsbot9

    Yes, you blame the Jews. Thanks for admitting this.

    You keep on trying to deny the pension to the poor you love so much you’re creating more of them, murderer.

  • Newsbot9

    I see, Greece and Spain are too wealthy for the Coalition, I see. They don’t have the mass starvation the Coalition wants here. Time to ask for international food aid for the British poor, when the BoE shill pushes inflation to 10-15%, it will be a massive problem for millions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.crowder2 Jim Crowder

    When you write about a loss of £165 per year, you mean a lack of increase of that amount. Us low paid workers have seen a larger lack of increase over the last few years. Are you proposing that we should suffer more so people who don’t work can have a rise of more than 20% over the last few years. Where would you like the money to come from?

  • Newsbot9

    Keep on laughing it up. Your “poor” millionaires like you have lost more. Ohnoes!
    Given you don’t pay tax…

    And keep on calling for taking more cash from the economy, given it has a spending multiple over 1. You don’t have the faintest idea about economics…you’ve got managers for your estate, I see.

    “Fair” to you is starving the poor to death. Got it. And you failed to realise that most of the cuts are from in-work benefits. Which exposes your claims of being poor to be false.