Two mil­lion fam­i­lies face £50-a-week cut in in­come

Shock new fig­ures show poor­est hit Pres­sure grow­ing for end to aus­ter­ity

The Observer - - FRONT PAGE - by Michael Sav­age Pol­icy Edi­tor

Over two mil­lion poor fam­i­lies will be more than £50 a week worse off by the end of the decade, ac­cord­ing to an alarm­ing anal­y­sis of wel­fare cuts, crip­pling rent rises and loom­ing in­fla­tion.

In a bleak assess­ment of the plight of the poor­est fam­i­lies in Bri­tain, the study com­mis­sioned by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion found that more than 84% of those set to lose £50 a week or more are house­holds with chil­dren, ei­ther lone par­ents or cou­ples. Al­most two-thirds of them are work­ing house­holds, de­spite claims from min­is­ters that they wish to cre­ate a wel­fare sys­tem that en­cour­ages work.

The anal­y­sis, by the Pol­icy in Prac­tice con­sul­tancy, also un­der­mines claims from min­is­ters that moves to cut taxes and in­crease the wages of the poor­est are com­pen­sat­ing them for years of aus­ter­ity and the rising cost of liv­ing.

While some of the seven mil­lion low­in­come house­holds in Bri­tain will be bet­ter off by 2020, the group as a whole faces an av­er­age loss of £40.62 a week by 2020 com­pared with the end of last year, once ben­e­fit and tax changes, wages, hous­ing costs and in­fla­tion are all taken into ac­count.

The re­port’s pub­li­ca­tion comes as Philip Ham­mond, the chan­cel­lor, faces in­tense pres­sure to ease years of aus­ter­ity fol­low­ing an elec­tion re­sult that sig­nalled vot­ers had reached the end of their pa­tience with spend­ing cuts. Nurses took to the streets in protest last week over claims they have suf­fered a 14% real-terms cut in their wages over the past seven years. Ham­mond is also un­der pres­sure to curb rising lev­els of stu­dent debt in the forth­com­ing bud­get.

The study finds that the in­tro­duc­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s flag­ship pol­icy of uni­ver­sal credit, which com­bines a se­ries of ben­e­fits into a sin­gle pay­ment, will lead to an av­er­age in­come loss of £11.18 per week. It co­in­cides with new warn­ings from Cit­i­zens Ad­vice that the roll­out of the sys­tem should be halted, amid claims that some of those al­ready re­ceiv­ing it have found them­selves in se­ri­ous debt.

With char­i­ties and coun­cils warn­ing of rising home­less­ness, in­creas­ing hous­ing costs are iden­ti­fied as a main cause

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.