The news that, in defiance of all the polls and predictions, the Conservatives have won a majority is the worst possible news for claimants. It means that even the slender hope of the Lib Dems forcing the Tories to back down from their £12 billion in benefits cuts has now gone and the future is looking bleak.
Where the cuts will be made, we don’t yet know. And, if Iain Duncan Smith is to be believed, neither does anyone else. We will have to wait for the results of a government spending review to find out who will be hit.
But the Conservative victory means that the roll-out of personal independence payment will continue, with the transfer of lifetime or indefinite claims due to begin in October of this year.
The bedroom tax will continue unabated.
Nor is there likely to be any slowdown in the rate of sanctions against jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance claimants.
And the roll out of universal credit, with sanctions even for people in work will continue, even if at a snail’s pace.
Meanwhile, another series of Benefits Street is about to begin on Channel 4 on Monday as the media helps the government soften up public opinion for another round of cuts.
The voluntary sector has, with some honourable exceptions, been depressingly quiet over the election period, presumably cowed by the Lobbying Act.
But that excuse has now gone and many will now hope to see see a major campaign by disability and poverty charities to oppose further benefits cuts for sick and disabled claimants.
Meanwhile, Benefits and Work will continue to reveal the truth about the benefits system and help our members to navigate their way through whatever is left of it after another five years of Conservative attacks.