Osborne cuts working age benefits again, but puts £5b on bill

Thu, 04/12/2014 - 14:14 -- nick

George Osborne's Autumn Statement brought more misery for unemployed people, but actually increased the benefit bill.

The Chancellor's party is fond of talking about the entire benefit bill of £200 billion as a way of frightening voters with its sheer scale while attempting to make the link between the total and unemployment.

Of course, Jobseeker's Allowance only forms 2.7% of the bill, while pension payments are over half, so in a cost-cutting budget which of these is being chopped in the 'national interest'?

The payments to the workless, as well as working age people who will receive Universal Credit (if it can ever be made to work).

Osborne boasted:

"I believe we need to freeze working age benefits for two years, saving billions more. Decisions to control public spending are never easy. But the impact on people’s lives when economic stability is lost is far, far greater. And I’ve always believed we should be straight about what’s required to restore stability and what’s then required to stay on course."

The Chancellor followed this up by confirming today that pensioners would receive a 2.5% increase in their basic payments, while also being provided with top-ups if they have no other income.

This means a minimum rate of £151.20 per week, more than twice as much as the £71 received by an unemployed person.

This Is Money estimates that the coalition's welfare cuts have saved £2.5 billion since 2010, while extra payments to pensioners in that time have cost £5 billion.

It is almost as if the Tories want to reward the group that votes in biggest numbers and most often votes for them.

We don't begrudge pensioners their extra income, but we do believe that decent living standards are needed by all, not just those that vote Tory in large numbers.

The idea that minor unemployment spending threatens economic stability while major pensions spending does not is wilfully misleading, and evidence that Osborne will say and do anything to get his party elected.

Anyone taking the briefest look at the facts will see through this deception.