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£19 per week benefits cut for working age claimants under Tories

Working age claimants are likely to face an average cut in income of over £19 a week if the Conservatives form the next government . The drastic drop, likely to be taken from housing benefit (HB), employment and support allowance (ESA), disability living allowance (DLA) and personal independence payment (PIP), will be needed to allow the Tories to cut £12 billion from benefits spending.

Cuts timetable
The cuts will come in the years 2016-17 and 2017-18, after the current agreed spending round ends.

The chancellor’s plan is to have huge cuts in these two years, followed by much more modest cuts in 2018-19 and then a big surplus to pay for giveaways in the year leading up to the 2020 election.

bar chart showing planned cuts

Target benefits
The Tories are still refusing to say which benefits will be cut until after the election.

But the reality is that pensioner benefits, which make up well over half the benefits bill, are entirely protected.

And the proposed limiting of child benefit to the first three children would save just £300 million.

While cuts to housing benefit for some under 25s could save as little as £50 million.

So, the only place cuts can realistically come from is working age benefits. And Jobseeker’s allowance makes up only a tiny proportion of these, so rising employment will make little difference.

Jobseeker’s allowance is expected to cost just £2.39 billion in 2016-17, compared to:

  • Employment and support allowance: £14.47 billion
  • Disability living allowance: £10.11 billion
  • Housing benefit: £24.8 billion
  • Personal independence payment: 4.78 billion

The benefit that was supposed to transform the system and save billions, universal credit, doesn’t even make up one hundredth of a percent of the benefits bill and the DWP refuse to make predictions about future totals.

£2,000 per claimant
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the cuts the chancellor has outlined so far, primarily a freeze on the uprating of most working age benefits, including the ESA personal allowance but not the two additional components, would save just £2 billion.

So that still leaves around £10 billion in cuts to be absorbed by the 5 million working age claimants in the UK. That’s a terrifying £2,000 per claimant over two years, averaging out at over £19 a week.

We have no way of knowing how the chancellor plans to make these cuts.

But it could be a combination of measures such as abolishing the work-related activity component of ESA; removing the lower rate of DLA care and/or mobility for working age claimants; making the points system for PIP much harsher; reducing the percentage of rent that housing benefit covers . . . and much more.

Tax credits
One possible way out of devastating cuts for sick and disabled claimants would be for the chancellor to pile a large part of the cuts on to tax credits. But there are major problems with this.

Firstly, ‘welfare’ has a precise meaning for a chancellor – particularly one delivering a budget – and tax credits are not part of the welfare budget at all, so Osborne would have clearly been misleading voters and the commons.

More importantly, the Tories have resolutely divided people into ‘strivers’ and ‘skivers’ over the past five years. ‘Skivers’ get ‘welfare’, ‘strivers’ go out to work and get tax credits if they are on a low income. The reality, of course, is very different, but this is the tale politicians and the press tell.

If it turns out that Osborne was pretending he was going to hit the ‘skivers’ with another round of cuts , but in reality planned to slash the incomes of millions of ‘strivers’ instead, his reputation will suffer enormous harm. So too will the idea that work always pays more than benefits.

The Tory party will quite possibly recover from the damage by the time of the next election, but George’s chances of becoming the next leader of the Conservatives in 2018 or 2019 will probably have been irreparably damaged.

It’s very unlikely to be a risk he wants to take.

“Radical changes” will be needed, says IFS
It’s not just Benefits and Work that is arguing that the chancellor will have to make radical cuts to disability benefits and housing benefit.

Paul Johnston of the IFS told the BBC, following the budget:

“He has told us he wants to freeze working age benefits. That will save up to about £2 billion. That’s something he has told us. It’s the other £10 billion we know nothing about.

“It’s of course possible to cut benefits by £10 billion or £12 billion, if that’s what you really want to do.

“But you need to recognise especially if you’re protecting pensioners which the conservatives have said they want to do, this will involve radical changes to, for example, the housing benefit system, big cuts to child benefit, big cuts to disability benefits.

“These are the big benefits. If you want to save £10 billion you have to find radical things to do to those big parts of the benefits system.”

Labour and Tories no different?
Our ‘Benefits sanctions and deaths survey’ found that 59.5% of respondents thought that the Conservatives would be harshest with claimants, but 40% believed Labour and the Conservatives are as bad as each other.

In truth, all the indications so far are that the Conservatives will be vastly worse for claimants.

Labour are only aiming to make a total of £7 billion in cuts over the course of the next parliament, compared with the Conservatives £30billion.

We are no fans of Labour here at Benefits and Work. We despise the way they have privatised chunks of the benefits system and helped to demonise claimants.

But, for the coming five years, we have absolutely no doubt which party will plunge millions of claimants into unbearable poverty and, like Tory minister Hugo Swire, find it all mildly amusing.

Comments  

#20 Nigel 2015-04-05 05:08
How can anyone vote for a party not knowing what they are going to do with this country....Must be a law against it...Ooppss..si lly me...!!! :cry:
-2 #19 caiti 2015-03-29 12:25
The State Pension is not a benefit. It is given as the result of years of work by individuals paying NI contributions.I f an individual does not have the required NI contributions and has no other income then they are able to claim Pension Credit, which is a benefit.
+2 #18 tintack 2015-03-27 19:36
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32084722

Chilling stuff. The Tories are denying it, but then given their track record of doing things they promised not to, that denial can be taken with a pretty liberal pinch of salt.

It looks like they want to scrap the contribution-ba sed form of ESA. Perhaps that's not surprising, as it's already limited to a year, but that doesn't make it any more justifiable. Restricting Carer's Allowance and taxing DLA/PIP also seems to be on their agenda.

No wonder Cameron squirmed when Paxman asked him about this. And they wonder why they're called the nasty party!
#17 Bill 2015-03-27 18:32
A loss of £19.00 per week is how this article is headed but we just watched the 6 o'clock BBC News who say they have seen Civil Service Papers that show some recipients of Benefits might lose as much as £80.00 per week under Tory plans.... if they get re-elected.

Carers Allowance will go, DLA will be taxed, ESA will be removed for some, and all manner of other Benefit cuts which will make it truly impossible to manage for the greatest majority of us.

Check out some of the info at the BBC News site here:

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32084722

Oh my God, things will be bleak if they get back in.

Bill
+4 #16 tintack 2015-03-27 16:24
Quoting satmanbasil:
When it comes to pensioners they are ring fenced mainly because in there working life they have paid into the system by income tax and N I contributions


I think pensioner benefits being ring-fenced has more to do with the fact that they tend to vote more, and vote Tory, than other age groups. If they voted Labour, you can be sure cuts to pensioner benefits would be on the Tories' agenda.
+2 #15 tintack 2015-03-27 16:20
Quoting Drizzle:
The only reason for not giving details is that they're so horrific they think it would lose them votes, which says a lot in the current climate of claimant hate.


Indeed, which it makes it even more important that the Tories aren't allowed to get away with saying that they'll only give us the details after the election.

Quote:
According to another BBC article, analysis of social media reaction says that Miliband impressed more than Cameron in the grillings last night.
It seems there have been a lot of complaints made to Ofcom about Cameron being given a much easier ride, especially by Kay Burley. But then she works for Sky, which is owned by Murdoch, so anti-Labour bias is no surprise. If Miliband held his own despite that, then fair play to him.

Quote:
Surely people can see what a coward Cameron is for refusing to do a one-on-one debate with Miliband? I wouldn't vote for a party whose leader was running scared of such a debate!
He refuses to answer tough questions, especially on the benefit cuts, and runs away from a one-on-one debate - while claiming to provide "strong leadership". If this were Miliband the press would slaughter him for it.
+1 #14 satmanbasil 2015-03-27 15:28
Cameron was kicked down by vine from the start with the food bank question then the zero hour contracts and all he could repeat time and time again was the record on the economy like a broken record.
I am total agreement that they should be pressed before the election on where this 12 billion cut in welfare is going to drop.
Tory claims labour will borrow more does not wash with me as the tories have borrowed just as much and imposed austerity measures upon the british people as well for what...another 5 years or more.

When it comes to pensioners they are ring fenced mainly because in there working life they have paid into the system by income tax and N I contributions I don't get this idea the next generation should not be in debt for action taken today by government, it has always been the working people of today contribute towards there sate pension and in part help support the generation before them, if they want to put a stop to that then why don't they say anybody born after 2000, so we are looking at the next generation of working people have to make arrangements for a pension plan to support them in later life with maybe mim help from the government over there working life. year on year the numbers who receive a state pension will drop.
+1 #13 Drizzle 2015-03-27 14:27
Quoting tintack:
I didn't see it, but apparently Paxman asked Cameron about the £12billion benefit cuts and Cameron wouldn't give any details. I really hope this issue gains traction in the campaign, because if these cuts ever happen, the results will be horrific.


I saw a clip on the BBC website. Paxman was extremely persistent but the only details Cameron would give were reducing the benefit cap and reducing/removi ng benefits for school-leavers (both of which have been mentioned several times already).

The only reason for not giving details is that they're so horrific they think it would lose them votes, which says a lot in the current climate of claimant hate.

According to another BBC article, analysis of social media reaction says that Miliband impressed more than Cameron in the grillings last night. Surely people can see what a coward Cameron is for refusing to do a one-on-one debate with Miliband? I wouldn't vote for a party whose leader was running scared of such a debate!
+3 #12 tintack 2015-03-27 02:15
I didn't see it, but apparently Paxman asked Cameron about the £12billion benefit cuts and Cameron wouldn't give any details. I really hope this issue gains traction in the campaign, because if these cuts ever happen, the results will be horrific.
+2 #11 Drizzle 2015-03-25 17:42
Quoting micksville:
Plus, Rachel Reeves, shadow dwp secretary claimed only last week that labour 'wasnt the party of welfare' (claimants) As shes only too pleased to distance herself from those of us unfortunate enough to have to rely on welfare it beggars the quextion what she has up her sleeve. She's more or less told me and those like me she doesn't value our vote


Politicians don't value our vote as historically we don't vote in large enough numbers to make a difference (unlike the pensioners). Let's do something to change that!

Labour have to talk tough on welfare or they'll be derided by the right wing as being soft on scroungers and lose significant votes as a result. That doesn't change the fact that they've promised to look again at the WCA, to abolish the bedroom tax, have been very vocal in their criticism of the awful sanctions regime and have agreed to implement all of the recommendations in the recent Work and Pensions Committee report if they win power.

I don't love Labour and regard them as the lesser of two evils, but, as this article points out, life under them will be a hell of a lot better for us than life under the Tories.

I also worry for the UK as a whole if the Tories regain power. All this talk of their proposed cuts taking us back to the 1930s should be making everyone very, very nervous in my opinion!
+3 #10 tazman 2015-03-25 15:56
I agree that pensioners should be looked after. But I do wish that when the statistics are quoted, the figures for pensions could be separated. It gives people a warped perspective on how much us scroungers/skiv ers cost them. I have spoken to a few people who were shocked to learn that approximately 60% of the welfare bill is pensions. Most people believe the propaganda they read in the papers until illness knocks on their door. As I say, leave pensioners alone, but please be honest when spouting figures.
+4 #9 tintack 2015-03-25 15:52
Quote:
My greatest fear is that another coalition government will be what we get landed with after the May elections
My greatest fear is a Tory government which has an overall majority, because then they really could implement these £12billion cuts. A Tory-led coalition or minority government would still be thoroughly awful, no doubt about it, but they'd struggle to get cuts on that scale through. Even the Lib Dems have said they think £12billion is way too much, and without Lib Dem support there's virtually no chance of Osborne getting his way on this.
-4 #8 George 2015-03-25 14:32
Pensioner benefits should be protected because they are not able to work to gain extra income nor save money. Most pensioners are on a low benefit amount.
+2 #7 Drizzle 2015-03-25 14:10
Thanks for spelling out the realities so starkly, B&W. :sad:

Reading this article is going to cause great anxiety to many people, even thoughts of suicide. As someone who will be very badly affected by these cuts, certainly losing my home and a huge chunk of my income (if the predictions in this article of where the Tory cuts will fall are correct - which I believe them to be), I just want to add another perspective that I hope will reassure people a little.

If you look at the following up-to-date poll projection:-

www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/feb/27/guardian-poll-projection

the Conservatives (or the Conservatives + UKIP, which would be just as bad for us) DO NOT have enough projected votes to form a majority. Even including the Lib Dems doesn't change that.

Also, Alex Salmond is threatening to derail any Tory-led government! :lol:

So I don't think the outlook is as bleak for us as it could be. I know the Lib Dems are hated by most of us, but I'm pretty sure the benefit cuts this term would have been even harsher without their presence, and as things stand the Tories would have to get into bed yet again with the Lib Dems to have any hope of forming a majority.

Of course, all this is speculation based on poll projections (that are notoriously unreliable) so we can't rest on our laurels. By far the best outcome for us would be a Labour-led government, so we still need to ensure that we vote tactically to try to keep the Tories/UKIP out in our areas and ask everyone we know to do likewise.
+2 #6 micksville 2015-03-25 13:56
Plus, Rachel Reeves, shadow dwp secretary claimed only last week that labour 'wasnt the party of welfare' (claimants) As shes only too pleased to distance herself from those of us unfortunate enough to have to rely on welfare it beggars the quextion what she has up her sleeve. She's more or less told me and those like me she doesn't value our vote
#5 micksville 2015-03-25 13:52
Have to disagree...labo ur hasnt clearly ruled out welfare cuts and after all, they first fiddled with incapacity benefit, Yvette Cooper signed off on the harsher wca in her last act before being booted out of office. Have we all forgotten about the existence of James Purnell? The realiy is it's like choosing whether you want mauling by a rotweiller or a pit bull.....end result is little different.
+3 #4 micksville 2015-03-25 13:48
This sems dven mord likely following Camerons confirmation that he won't raise vat in today's commons questions. Looks increasingly like the axe will fall on welfard budget
+3 #3 naheegan 2015-03-25 13:35
My greatest fear is that another coalition government will be what we get landed with after the May elections. In view of what has happened with this coalition, I doubt that any meaningful reversal of welfare reform will take place with another coalition formed, and compromises will be struck between parties at the expense of claimants.
In all regards, I fully expect that there will be cuts no matter who gets elected. I'm certain that I could not withstand a £19 a week cut to my benefit -I'm just keeping my head above the tide, and with an un-chosen move in my future because of a new landlord, any reduction in my meager benefits will mean a disaster.
Looking at the £19 a week reduction, that amount is roughly the equivalent of my ESA WRAg 'allowance' that will mean that my 'volunteer' work is valued at far less than it already is: instead of a benefit of £28 a week for 25-30 hours of volunteer work, it will be reduced to £9 a week for what equates to a part-time job. So, in real terms, the value of my labour would see a reduction from approximately £1 an hour to .33p an hour.
'Making work pay' seems such a hollow statement!
+4 #2 Bill 2015-03-25 07:45
Quoting this article:

Quote:
In truth, all the indications so far are that the Conservatives will be vastly worse for claimants. Labour are only aiming to make a total of £7 billion in cuts over the course of the next parliament, compared with the Conservatives £30billion.
Well done B & W this is a very well written piece with evidence of what we can all expect under another Tory Government.

Anyone that still believes that a Labour Government will be as bad for us as a Tory Government should now see that they were mis-informed.

We have all been mis-informed by our wonderful Tory owned Press, so we need this balance to understand what the true story is.

There is a massive difference between cuts of £30bn and cuts of £7bn and, as we the sick and disabled will bear the brunt of the cuts, we should all be able to decide which Government will be best for us after reading this.

The fact that most, if not all of us dislike, or even hate the Labour Party, should not stop us from voting for them as that is the only certain way we can be selfish enough to avoid another 5 years of Tory misery.

If we do nothing else at this election, we must think of our own selfish needs and who will be best, or worst for us personally when/if they get into Government.

Thanks B&W for laying it all on the line for us; great job!

Mr & Mrs Bill
+9 #1 tintack 2015-03-25 00:12
Hopefully this is the final nail in the coffin of the idea that there's no difference between the parties, they're all as bad as each other, etc.. All the evidence is that the Tories will be far, far worse than Labour.

Choosing between the Tories and Labour in May is like choosing between a clip round the ear or being bashed in the face with a mallet. Ideally you don't want either, but if it's a choice between one or the other, it's a no-brainer.

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