What you need to know about Osborne’s working age benefit freeze

Your cut out and keep guide to today'sannouncement on freezing working age benefits.

Your cut out and keep guide to today’s announcement on freezing working age benefits

Chancellor George Osborne has in his conference speech announced a two-year freeze on working age benefits to save £3 billion.

The chancellor argued during his speech in Birmingham that Britain could no longer afford to spend £100bn a year on welfare payments for people of working age.

“The fairest way to reduce welfare bills is to make sure that benefits are not rising faster than the wages of taxpayers who are paying for them,” he said.

“We will provide a welfare system that is fair to those who need it, and fair to those who pay for it too.”

So what does this mean? Well here is your cut out and keep guide to today’s announcement.

– Working-age benefits will be frozen for two years from April 2016.

– This comes on the back of a 1 per cent cap that was announced in 2012.

– As the Guardian has noted, the full list of benefits included in the cap are: jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, universal credit, child benefit, income support, the work-related activity component of employment and support allowance and the local housing allowance rates in housing benefit. Not included are maternity pay, paternity pay, sickness pay, adoption pay, disability benefits and pensioners benefits.

– The £3 billion the government hopes to save by freezing working age benefits for two years will work out at just 0.9 per cent of the £349 billion in expected benefit expenditure, according to the BBC’s Mark Easton.

– Half of those hit by the freeze (in reality a cut) are in work. In other words, George Osborne will make many hardworking people poorer.

– The chancellor has justified the cut by pointing out that since 2007 earnings have rise by 14 per cent while working-age benefits have risen by 22.4 per cent. However this has more to do with the government failure to ensure that wages keep up with inflation, than with rocketing benefit payments.

– And inflation continues to outstrip weekly earnings. As noted earlier today, the headline rate for average weekly earnings was 0.6 per cent in July – the last set of labour market stats we have. Average weekly earnings growth has only twice been lower – very briefly in 1967 and in 2009, when the financial sector bonuses taken at the beginning of the crash were working out of the figures. Slashing away at benefits to match this is a race to the bottom.

– Executive pay is now 180 times that of the average worker. Ask those at the top to pay a little more to plug the gap; don’t go after the poor.

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35 Responses to “What you need to know about Osborne’s working age benefit freeze”

  1. Gary Scott

    This is ideological. Hatred of the poor is popular.

  2. WirralBill

    “The chancellor argued during his speech in Birmingham that Britain could
    no longer afford to spend £100bn a year on welfare payments for people
    of working age.”

    Good. Cut it all and stop bleeding ordinary working people dry.

  3. Snooki

    Why not kick the disabled on more time ey??

    Why not work to stop Tax Dodgers?

  4. Ruth Ockendon Laycock

    So where are young people supposed to find jobs and get a start in life when the state pension age has risen again and older people are being forced to work to survive? Let those retire who have done their bit and contributed all their lives and free up jobs for the young

  5. Babble

    So you get nowt if you’re sick, you get nowt if you’re unemployed, you get nowt if you’re disabled, you get nowt if you go to work and you get no pension until you’re a week away from ordering your wooden overcoat, that is unless you’re a Tory rich boy then you get well looked after.

  6. sara

    So let’s make millions more families homeless then shall we and that will help improve matters. That’s what’s going to happen. Most are already foregoing all luxuries and many necessities, not eating properly, not heating their homes properly and struggling to pay the rent. How much more can ordinary people give up just so the rich can keep getting richer? What do they want, blood?

  7. daniel0lee

    Well there you go. You either have to be extremely selfish or extremely stupid to fall for it. What is the world coming to when our elected representives seek to turn people against each other like this. 🙁

  8. robin

    define working age.

  9. phill

    So here’s my solution to the problem. First stop sending the many millions of pounds of aid to India. If they can afford to send rockets to Mars then they dont need the money. Secondly, stop spending billions on trident. We would never use them. Thirdly, get out of Europe. All the rhetoric about losing trade is a nonsense. If we have the right goods at the right price we would still trade with anyone in the world. Thirdly,halt all immigration to anyone who are not sponsered and only then if they have a job secured and can support themselves for a minimum of 3 years. Finally, do not include the state pension in any tax calculations. This would allow pensioners to retire freeing up jobs for the younger generation and provide them with more spending power.

  10. Alison

    Amazing how they can afford to give France almost £12 million to help stop immigrants coming across. Easier thing to do is to stop giving immigrants taxpayers money, that would stop them wanting to come to the “promised land”, that would save pots loads of money !!!

  11. JoeDM

    Meaningless comparison

  12. JoeDM

    And we still have uncontrolled immigration allowing foreign workers to come into the UK and take their jobs.

  13. JoeDM

    Sickness benefits and disability benefits are not included !!

  14. treborc1

    We no longer give India aid it ended last year, and it was £245 million but of course if India now decide to buy it goods from somewhere else or India decide that landrover or Jaguar would be better built in India, or the steel plants in the UK should be shut down, it would be cheaper to give them the small amount of aid.

    Trident is an old chestnut no party is going to annoy the yanks for god sake Miliband fawns over the USA.

    Well we cannot so people coming to the UK from the EU so that not going to happen either.

    never mind it will all get better in a million years of so..

  15. treborc1

    Disability benefits will go up they are targeting working benefits like child credits and tax credits. people on ESA and DLA are not affected so far

  16. treborc1

    Slogan for the new Job centers, we only use natural gas. ‘Work will make you free.’

  17. treborc1

    But I suspect they would be if the labour party had thought of it.

  18. treborc1

    God not that old one again

  19. treborc1

    18 to 1001

  20. Andy B

    how exactly is this comparison meaningless? if they spent less time cutting benefits and more time chasing tax dodgers, then there would be more money in the public purse (how many politicians would be caught up in the tax dodging though?)

  21. Muhib

    When you see the Govt spending 8.4 billions on Iraq war alone from 2003 to 2008 alone in pursuit of so called weapons of mass destruction,you just think why not freeze the war for some years and save trillions rather than hitting the hard working poor families.

  22. Cath Sanger

    Meaningless comparison.

  23. Cath Sanger

    But disability has been totally reclassified so many disabled people now get absolutely nothing. You know nothing but make so many bullsh comments.

  24. Cath Sanger

    How much money? Look it up, then look up the amount of tax that hasn’t been paid by vodaphone at all. While people like you decide the problem is poor foreign people, these huge companies get away with everything.

  25. Chris Wilson

    The tragedy is the absence, outside of Scotland, of a left of centre party willing to oppose and challenge this malign rhetoric.

  26. Roy

    well apparently the employers say that Brits cant or wont do the jobs needed for the money they are willing to pay. So just who’s jobs are they taking ?

  27. RoyB

    Osborne is clearly an economic illiterate who never learns from his mistakes. To reduce demand in a recession is by far the best way of making things wrose. So not only does he attack the weakest in society, he does so in such a way as to be counter-productive. What needs to happen is for a far larger share of the economy to go to wages. Many companies are sitting on cash piles as well as paying quite obscene amounts to their Directors. This upward and outward flow of money needs to be reversed. Higher pay for ordinary workers means higher tax revenues and reduced welfare payments. That’s the only real way out of recession. As Carney has observed, this model of capitalism will eat itself. It needs to be rescued and replaced with a model that works sustainably for all.

  28. captain antifascist

    The jobs the foreign workers take in the UK are often minimum wage or even lower. I know of someone who worked in manual trades – the whole UK work force were sacked and replaced by lower wage workers from Eastern Europe, often they can only afford to work her by sharing a room. who the hell wants to do that indefintely? so stop bashing UK workers who often have families hence a whole flat as well, to keep. You cant do that on a minimum wage with a normal full time hours job. We need decent jobs not Mac Jobs with decent wages and we need more affordable social housing to be built, and we need a decent benefit level for those too sick to work or only well enough to work part-time. Rich tax avoiders
    should be made to pay up, a fairer tax system to make the rich pay more.

  29. captain antifascist

    austerity is a dangerous idea and deosnt work. the only reason the UK economy isnt in a worse state is because of the housing bubble especially in london with crazy hous prices. one day it will burst and casue massive suffering. UK should stop allowing rich people from abroad to buy up UK property which is helping to cause this bubble. Many of these proerties are lying empty whilst locals are homeless, or living in overcrowded homes or hostels. this is criminal – we are lead by a criminal elite. at the moment its the bully boys from the bullingdon club and their billionaire buddies

  30. The Ancient One

    No, not blood, the want death of pensioners and the disabled so that they don’t have to pay them

  31. Gwyn Tull

    “The chancellor argued during his speech in Birmingham that Britain could
    no longer afford to spend £100bn a year on welfare payments for people
    of working age”

    Legislate for a living wage economy then. Or would that reduce corporations profits?

  32. Gwyn Tull

    The Green Party are left of centre, perhaps people should look at their policies and manifesto and stop deriding them.
    When people take surveys to see what policies they agree with, a large majority find they should be voting Green.

  33. Chris Wilson

    Agree entirely, my mistake in not mentioning them.

  34. chills

    Its very simple, we should never have elected them in,we knew what was going to happen,they just look after their own, put more money in the pockets of the rich,they dont give a damm about the ordinary person
    time for the people to speak,get them out quick

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