UK Government Set to Freeze Working-Age Benefits

    By EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Theresa May) [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

    It was confirmed by the Government that it would be freezing benefits until 2020 costing a common working family about £300 per year.

    A work and pensions minister, Caroline Dinenage, said that the freeze for working-age people who receive benefits would continue even as the state pension and some other benefits grow by three percent, in line with inflation.

    According to a report by the Resolution Foundation, this will be a real-terms slash in income of £315 per year for the typical working family that has two children as the cost of living will eat further into their family’s income.

    The freeze, which has been imposed since 2015, has coincided with the longest decline in living standards in the past sixty years with the thinktank saying that real disposable incomes are now to set to drop for nineteen successive quarters.

    In a report that was published before the budget, the foundation warned that the freeze would worsen inequality which would take £715 at an average away from the poorest third of households whereas the richest third seems to be set to gain £185 from other tax breaks.

    Some people will see the cut partially offset by the rise in minimum wage, which will increase to £7.83 per hour from April. However, many people will still feel the squeeze as the Treasury aims to save £1.9bn over 2017.

    The news arrived just twenty minutes after the Clarence House announced the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, an American actress.

    The Liberal Democrats work and pensions spokesperson, Stephen Lloyd, stated: “The Tories seem to be shamelessly using the royal engagement to bury bad news. Millions of hard-pressed families are set to be pushed over the edge into poverty by these cruel cuts.”

    Meanwhile, the Shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams, said that Theresa May, the Prime Minister had “failed to make good on her promise to help those struggling to get by, at a time when Britain is facing an unprecedented two lost decades of earnings growth.”

    Abrahams stated: “By continuing to freeze working-age benefits when inflation is soaring, the government is subjecting 10.5 million households to an average cut of £450 a year.”