The Tories have overspent by £25 billion on social security

Figures show that the DWP overspend comes despite debilitating cuts to working people and families.

Figures show that the DWP overspend comes despite debilitating cuts to working people and families

New analysis shows that social security spending by the Department for Work & Pensions has been £25 billion higher than George Osborne planned in this parliament.

The figures, commissioned by shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, cast grave doubt over George Osborne’s ability to deliver the savings he has promised for the next parliament.

The £25 billion comes despite changes that have left families on average £974 a year worse off and despite recent falls in unemployment.

Osborne has been talking about making £12 billion more cuts to social security after the election, but he has overspent by more than twice this amount in parliament, according to the figures.

This means that if parliament had had a welfare cap the Tories would have breached it.

Analysis of the figures shows that the Tories have overspent by £1.4 billion on housing benefit for people in work; this is over four times the amount they have saved in housing benefit from people moving into work.

Furthermore, the number of people in work who need to claim housing benefits to make ends meet has increased by over 50 per cent since 2010, with this figure set to double by 2018/19.

The government has also spent over £8 billion more than they planned to on incapacity benefits, due to their chaotic delivery of reforms and failure to help disabled people into work.

Delays to the delivery of the Personal Independence Payment have meant uncertainty for thousands of disabled people, and have been a mounting cost to taxpayers, with £1.7 billion more spent than planned over the parliament.

And £130 million has been wasted on failed IT for Universal Credit, which is still reaching less than one per cent of its intended caseload.

In an article for Politics Home, Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves write that it is now clear that Osborne will ‘totally fail’ to balance the books in this parliament. They blame stagnant wages and low paid jobs for a shortfall in tax receipts and more borrowing.

According to Labour, vital support for families has been cut, with the introduction of the bedroom tax, cuts to tax credits for working families and cuts to maternity pay. But any savings from these decisions have been outweighed by the Tories’ total failure to tackle the root causes of rising social security spending.

They say that a key cause of the Tories’ overspending is their fundamental failure to make the economy work for working people, as well as mismanaged reforms at the DWP which have created a ‘culture of waste.’

In the article, Labour outline their plans to regain control of the situation:

”Labour has been clear that we need to control social security spending, and have committed to an overall cap on social security spending. But you can’t get the social security bill under control unless you’re tough on the causes of rising social security spending.

“That’s why Labour’s economic plan will tackle low pay and earn our way to higher living standards for the many, not just a few.

“Our approach is rooted in tackling the root causes of spending, boosting pay and tackling high housing costs.

“So our plan will make work pay by increasing the minimum wage to £8 an hour, introducing tax incentives for firms that start paying the living wage and expanding free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week

“We’ll scrap the bedroom tax and shift funding from benefits to bricks by getting at least 200,000 new homes built each year and introducing stable rental contracts in the private rented sector.

“We’ll back the next generation by boosting apprenticeships and ensuring there is a paid starter job for every young person out of work for over a year – which they’ll have to take or lose benefits, paid for by a tax on bank bonuses.

“And we will get a grip on the shambolic management at the DWP, to ensure that we can deliver a fair safety net for all those who need it.

“Only a Labour government will be tough on social security spending by being tough on the causes of rising social security spending. That’s the way to back working people and get the deficit down in a fairer way.”

Labour’s plans include calling in the National Audit Office to review universal credit to ensure it delivers value for money and a better system for claimants. They also plan to better regulate disability assessments by introducing tougher penalties when contractors get decisions wrong, and ensuring a clear oversight of the process by disabled people themselves.

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39 Responses to “The Tories have overspent by £25 billion on social security”

  1. Steve Chapman

    Then why did Labour abstain from the vote for retroactive legislation when the Government’s draconian sanctioning was ruled illegal? Where has been the voice of opposition to these cuts and the brutalizing of people in desperate need throughout this parliament? We have been crying out that all of this is wrong, that the social security safety is being undermined with a view to dismantlement regardless of the human cost.

    Why have you been so quiet?

  2. madasafish

    Sorry but this article is pure spin..

    The figures, commissioned by shadow chancellor Ed Balls and shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves,..”

    So not independent.. So their guesstimate.

    And if true, where is the austerity you complain of.?

    Oh Labour will deliver it “Only a Labour government will be tough on social security spending by being tough on the causes of rising social security spending”

    You mean like they did when they were in Government?

    I take it this is the 1st April and the writer is a comic…

  3. Paul Trembath

    It’s not reassuring when Labour gets excited about the financial cost of Smith’s cruel and nasty welfare “reforms” but says very little about the human cost.

  4. Jayne Linney

    DESPITE the CUTS The Tories have overspent by £25 billion on social security ??!!

  5. dodo

    All the pain all the suffering caused by tory cuts and this is whats happening MORE DEBT.
    ALL this can be solved easily JUST PAY PEOPLE A LIVING WAGE .WE DON’T NEED BILLIONAIRES MAKI G MORE MILLIONS A YEAR WE NEED WORKI G FAMILIES EARNING A DECENT CRUST. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH TIME NOW TO SPREAD SOME WEALTH RIGHT ACROSS SOCIETY. Austerity will never work.People have been killing ththemselves stuck on pathetically low wages.THE BIGGEST SCROUNGERS OF WELFARE IS THE PAYMASTERS USING WELFARE TO PAY THEIR WAGES.We have gone down the passive route and we have been ignored. Wake up you tory hypocrites time now for new Labour.

  6. wildejamey

    First, this is a direct result of the Tories’ much-publicized “reduction” of unemployment and exposes its dishonesty. A huge proportion of the so-called jobs are heavily subsidised by in-work welfare. Twisted figures eventually pop out somewhere else in the economic model. Secondly, it exposes the dishonesty of the Tory economic plans for the next parliament, which seem to rely almost solely on cutting welfare. In fact that seems to be their solution to every ill. No one believes it. But why isn’t the opposition pouring ridicule on it instead of trying to outbid them?

  7. dodo

    Because lets face it everyone knows people have been killing themselves kids going through green bins in morning for food thousands evicted thousands facing eviction family break ups and could go on and and on .After all these cuts and more to come Britain is still in it.Paying a living wage would solve so many problems plus going after tax evasion tax havens would solve even more.Ian duncan smith was never up to the job or Osbourne picking on welfare is all they have done all because their policies are failing so more cuts to the poorest. This is not going to solve the real issues ..PAY LIVING WAGE AND PRISON TAX DODGERS , PROBLEM SOLVED.

  8. AlanGiles

    I seem to recall Reeves boasting that she would be “tougher than the Tories” on welfare, so as far as I am concerned it is yet more wind and water from Balls and co.

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    Yup, the benefit cap will reduce payments. It’s clear. It’s designed to reduce them sharply every three years. Labour, you signed up, you are with the Tories on this.

    And Labour’s plan to not scrap the UC, but rather allow the damage to bump along while it’s “examined”…

    Labour will do little to nothing, in it’s plans, and allow the cap to reduce payments.

  10. Leon Wolfeson

    Er no. A living wage is, at best, a partial solution.

    If you want a complete solution you need something like a Basic Income.

  11. Leon Wolfeson

    You take plenty of things which don’t belong to you.

    Your austerity isn’t cheap. It’s massively expensive. That’s the problem.

  12. sarntcrip

    wellit hasn’t gone to disabled people

  13. sarntcrip

    better them than the bullingdon bulies

  14. sarntcrip

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has carried out 60 secret reviews into benefit-related deaths in less than three years, Disability News Service (DNS) can reveal.

    DWP released the figures in response to a series of Freedom of Information Act (FoI) requests by DNS.

    It said in one response that DWP had carried out “60 peer reviews following the death of a customer” since February 2012.

    There have been numerous reports of disabled people whose deaths have been linked to the employment and support allowance (ESA) claim process, or the refusal or removal of ESA and other benefits, including the writer Paul Reekie, who killed himself in 2010, and the deaths of Nick Barker, Jacqueline Harris, Ms DE, and Brian McArdle.

    The Scottish-based, user-led campaign group Black Triangle has collected more than 40 examples of people – most of them disabled – who appear to have died as a result of being found “fit for work” through a work capability assessment (WCA), or having their entitlement to benefits otherwise refused or removed.

    Many of the cases became widely-known through media reports of inquests, but in the case of Ms DE, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland concluded that the WCA process and the subsequent denial of ESA was at least a “major factor in her decision to take her own life”.

    But DWP has consistently denied any connection between the coalition’s welfare reforms and cuts and the deaths of benefit claimants.

    This week, DWP also released guidance used by its staff to decide whether a peer review was necessary, and guidance for authors of a peer review.

    This reveals that the role of a review is to “determine whether local and national standards have been followed or need to be revised/improved”, while a review must be carried out in every case where “suicide is associated with DWP activity”.

    It also says that peer reviews might also be considered in cases involving “customers with additional needs/vulnerable customers”.

    As with previous FoI requests by DNS and many other disabled campaigners, DWP refused to answer some of the questions because it claimed that it planned to publish information itself “in due course”.

    It also said it had only begun to keep national records of internal reviews since February 2012, and that it was too expensive to find figures from local and district records showing how many such reviews there had been before that date.

    Another of the FoI responses stated that it was too expensive to produce information showing how many letters DWP has received from coroners expressing concern that a death may have been linked to the non-payment or withdrawal of a benefit.

    Bob Ellard, speaking on behalf of the steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), said the disclosure that DWP had investigated 60 claimant deaths since 2012 was a “damming revelation”.

    He called for an urgent independent inquiry into the suicides and other deaths of benefit claimants.

    Ellard said: “We still don’t know enough about this as the DWP continue to use the small print in the FoI laws to prevent disclosure of information that is in the public interest.

    “We are calling for the deaths and suicides of benefit claimants to be urgently investigated by an independent authority.

    “We believe that these tragic deaths are as a direct result of [Conservative work and pensions secretary] Iain Duncan Smith’s policies and we want him to be called to account.”

    John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said that if 60 people had died in a major accident there would have been “hell to pay” and a “massive inquiry”.

    He said NHS figures showed a general rise in self-harm and suicide, which Black Triangle (BT) believes is connected with the effects of “cuts and austerity”.

    McArdle said he would like to know how many coroners had made recommendations to DWP in the wake of inquests into benefit-related suicides and other deaths.

    He said: “I think the public has a right to know whether coroners have made these recommendations to prevent similar tragedies happening again.”

    DNS reported last month how DWP had repeatedly contradicted its own position on benefit-related deaths.

    It originally stated, in an FoI response, that it did not hold any records on deaths linked to, or partially caused by, the withdrawal or non-payment of disability benefits.

    Mark Harper, the Conservative minister for disabled people, later told DNS that he did not “accept the premise” that DWP should collect and analyse reports of such deaths.

    But the Liberal Democrat DWP minister Steve Webb appeared to contradict Harper when he said the following week that when the department becomes aware of worrying cases “they do get looked at”.

    A DWP spokesman finally told DNS last month that it carries out reviews into individual cases, where it is “appropriate”.

  15. sarntcrip

    most of it went to atos

  16. sarntcrip

    anybody looked in gideon’s back pocket?

  17. robertcp

    Labour politicians talking about being tough on social security is just depressing.

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    They haven’t said anything when the retrospective legislation was ruled illegal either.

  19. Leon Wolfeson

    Exactly. Austerity is expensive.

    But that’s what the benefit cap is for – they’ll reduce benefits (on a three-year projection) and say “cap”, as an excuse. Labour too, so no different there.

    Instant massive poverty, of course.

  20. littleoddsandpieces

    All the main parties will not be able to reduce spending on benefit, because there are huge numbers of men and women who will be on benefit for the rest of their lives
    as they will get


    when for a great many that is their sole food and fuel money in old age.

    This includes housewives, divorcees and widows

    and poorest men

    of women born from 1953 and men born from 1951

    If since 2008, the new and unique policy of The Greens, which for some reason The Greens will not shout from the rooftops to make known to the poor on 20 per cent lowest income of all ages, then all the multi billions wasted on benefits admin would not have been wasted and this money would have come into the economy and saved the high street lost jobs:

    – universal Citizen Income, automatic, non-withdrawable

    – Bettered State Pension, with all citizens getting a full state pension,

    leaving no citizen without a state pension as is coming now

    with the flat rate pension, that is not more but far far less or nothing at all for life.

    The proof that Austerity does not work but kills people is out in Europe, as 80 per cent of austerity has yet to hit England and families are saying their family members are dying from lack of any food money.

    It is obvious that if a benefit sanction is more than a week, and you starve to death in a month, and you can only get 3 vouchers a year for a food bank, then starvation is inevitable.

    Pensioners are not better off than other ages. Half of over 50s are within the working poor. There is a 50 per cent unemployment rate for over 50s, even more over 60s, with little chance of re-employment of disabled / chronic sick (majority reason over 50s not in work).

    Huge number of pensioners are only on tiny works pension and even tinier state pensions, or even even just the lowest state pension of rich nations bar poor Mexico.

    The more employment the higher the benefit bill, as 97 per cent of benefit goes to the working poor and poor pensioners (who can be the same people).

    If the bill for welfare is going up, it can only be going to private firms paying zero corporation tax sub-contracted to benefit admin and ever more bureaucracy taking bread out of the mouth of babes and old alike.

  21. AlanGiles

    This is a typical “four legs good, two legs bad” response from a tribalist.
    If somebody is deemed “fit for work” when they are in the last stages of terminal cancer, as happened during the appalling Purnell/McNulty/Cooper regime, after they implemented Freud, they are JUST AS BAD as the Conservatives.

    You can’t overlook the contribution Labour made – and would make again, since the two parties are now interchangeable – by coming out with puerile otiose playground taunts like “Bullingdon bullies” and “the nasty party”. There are some very unpleasant individuals in all parties.

  22. treborc1

    ”Labour has been clear that we need to control social security
    spending, and have committed to an overall cap on social security
    spending. But you can’t get the social security bill under control
    unless you’re tough on the causes of rising social security spending”.

    Yes and I bet the sick the disabled will end up being a target of the labour party as is normal these days. We are an easy target because many people cannot fight back.

    We have had three terms of the labour party and the simnple fact the mess we are in today is simply down to them Miliband not the answer.

  23. treborc1

    To blooming royal.

  24. treborc1

    No really the living wage has been set my labour at £9 this would take people out of the benefits trap, nobody for example would get help with housing, but that would mean they have to pay rents which would leave them back in the same place most charities and think tanks have stated the living wage would have to start at between £10.50 to £11 an hour to give people a reasonable standard , but labour have dropped the living wage completely it is they think damaging them with the business community.

  25. treborc1

    But also the Tories brought ina review to stop ATOS from sendi8ng obvious cases to appeals, when I appealed against a decision to send me back to work, the DWP stated they wer4e reviewing my claim as the medical evidence looked to be strong on my disability, yet they still paid me £77 a week not the £146 I had before . Six weeks later I get a letter saying they had over turned the decision and I would not need to appeal. But it took me six months to get all my benefits back, it was stooped by the DWP yet it my my task to phone up fill out forms and tell every one I had won my award.

    Now somebody suffering serious mental health issues would not do this.

    I do not think labour are the answer they may be the problem after all Unum Provident and ATOS are labour’s.

    Purnell the little creep has now gone but he will be working in the back ground for the labour party somewhere,

  26. Guest

    IDS must answer…what, to Hamas?
    How is that relevant?

  27. Guest

    What do the Greens have to do with a Hamas-loving site? Your message is..confusing at best.

  28. Leon Wolfeson

    Uh, the Living Wage is set by the JRF.

    And who’s proposing to terminate i.e. HB entirely?

  29. Laura Knight

    There is no fault of unemployed being held back for training courses that would fit their individual needs and provide work. I have changed jobs several times in my life, all due to
    the fact that I re-trained. But this costs money, so where do you find that if your out of work and unable to get instant online payday loan. Large training places would supply cheap training for the govt. that would give people a chance at work and it has to be cheaper than keeping people on the dole.

  30. madasafish

    Incoherent economically illiterate – just typical greens.

  31. AlanGiles

    He’s now back at the BBC happily claiming expenses and “working” in the digital development area – shuffling papers around no doubt while the technical boys do all the real work

  32. keeshond

    Unfortunately everyone doesn’t, dodo. There’s a large enough section of the population who may read papers from the Rothermere, Murdoch and Barclay Bros.stables (oh, I forgot Richard Desmond: in his case the word sty might be as appropriate) where the connection between austerity measures & the manifestation of such poverty is never EVER made. They maybe don’t want to know but they are sure as hell not going to be made to feel uncomfortable by highly paid hirelings masquerading as editors….and then there are all those even higher paid screechers, columnists like Littlejohn to reassure “the silent majority” that the bankers are really OK once you get to spend time in the pub with them.

  33. Guest

    Ah, you hate on the BBC randomly as you get mad with people for working.

  34. Guest

    Yes, your response is. Thanks for that, tribalist.

  35. Guest

    You’re green? k.

  36. Guest

    So wasting people’s time with worthless “training”, making cash for your companies, as you bemoan lowering profits from ripoff lending. Cheaper for who, you?

  37. madasafish

    Of course I’a little green alien..

  38. Guest

    Ah, this hour’s Madrafish excuse.

  39. Benito

    whoah this weblog is wonxerful i love studyng your posts.
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