Benefit critics 'talk rubbish'

The Chancellor George Osborne has hit out at critics of the Government's benefits reform, accusing them of talking "ill-informed rubbish".

Latest ITV News reports

Big Issue founder: Welfare state keeps poor in a trap

As the row rumbles on about the government's benefit changes, Big Issue founder John Bird argues the "bloated welfare state has caught the poor in a trap".

Writing in the Times (£), he said that the welfare state has done an "effective job in keeping the poor poor and the jobless jobless".

Founder of the Big Issue John Bird

He also insists that the welfare state has outgrown the economy due to the advocacy of "self declared defenders of the poor - the bosses of the poverty industry, the whole web of charities and campaigning groups who depend upon the welfare state for their existence".

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ComRes: Osborne's popularity 'lowest it has ever been'

Keiran Pedley, politics and media pollster for Comres, said the company believe George Osborne's personal standing "is the lowest it has ever been" as the Chancellor defended his benefit reforms today.

The pollster told ITV News: "On George Osborne's standing, we have recently found that over half of the public think that his economic plan isn't working.

Keiran Pedley, politics and media pollster for Comres. Credit: ITV News

"We've tracked trust in the economy with George Osborne and David Cameron over time and we are currently finding that they are at their lowest levels since the election.

"So Osborne's personal standing, in a wider sense, is the lowest it has ever been, which will raise questions over whether these benefit reforms are sellable to the British public."

The Chancellor earlier defended his new welfare changes and attacked the defenders of the "broken" benefit system.

Read more: ITV News Index: 44% want George Osborne sacked

IFS: Most working households worse off since 2010

Respected financial analysts the Institute for Fiscal Studies has told ITV News that working households would "substantially" gain from the new welfare benefit changes, but that they would be down overall since the coalition was formed in 2010.

Senior research economist Robert Joyce said: "If you look at just the changes coming in this month and you look at working households then the majority of those will gain and will gain quite substantially.

Institute for Fiscal Studies senior research economist Robert Joyce. Credit: ITV News

"That is mainly because of the rise to the personal allowance, which will reduce the amount of income tax that they pay.

"That stands in quite significant contrast to the wider consolidation.

"Looking at all the measures that are happening that started in 2010 and that are happening to the end of this parliament, if you look at all the measures announced over that period, then most of those families will lose overall because of things like the main rise in VAT back in January 2011."

Chancellor George Osborne earlier said that the welfare and tax changes "will make work pay".

Read: Welfare benefit changes - What is changing in April and how will it affect you?

Osborne suggests welfare reform is generous

by - Political Correspondent
George Osborne listens to a speech by the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King today, following his speech in Sittingbourne, Kent.
George Osborne listens to a speech by the Governor of the Bank of England Mervyn King today, following his speech in Sittingbourne, Kent. Credit: PA

George Osborne tackled his critics head-on in a speech at a supermarket in Sittingbourne, Kent, today.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer repeatedly suggested that the cuts being introduced will leave people relatively well-of, with the benefits cap being set at £26,000 for a family and £18,000 for an individual.

Mr Osborne believes when it comes to welfare reform, the electorate is on his side.

However, the Chancellor needs to see an an improvement in the economy's performance before his "fight back" over the benefit cuts can have any chance of succeeding.

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Twitter reaction to Chancellor's welfare speech

After the Chancellor gave a speech defending welfare reforms and dismissing criticisms which he said were "headline seeking nonsense", many people tweeted their reaction:

Th3_normal

George Osborne is so out of touch. He's trying to bring out the worst in human nature.

Me_normal

Not a fan of George Osborne but I have to say his recent speeches in the past week have made sense

949adfc8139ec46a2164680beb2edc45_normal

#Osborne 'building an economy' ! Trashing an economy is more like it, he is hitting the working poor by cuts, tax cuts to rich #wowpetition

Balls: Osborne 'should be straight' with people

George Osborne should be straight with the British people and admit that millions on middle and low incomes are paying the price for his economic failure, while he gives a huge tax cut to millionaires this week.

Figures from the independent IFS show that the average family will be £891 worse off this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010. On top of this incomes are being squeezed further as prices rise faster than wages, yet the Chancellor refuses to rule out cutting or freezing the minimum wage.

he benefits bill is rising under this Government because our economy is flatlining, inflation is rising and unemployment is high. The best way to get the benefits bill down is to get our economy growing strongly and get people back to work. Ministers must explain why they will not back Labour's plan for a compulsory jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed

– Shadow chancellor Ed Balls

Defending current benefits system is 'indefensible'

Chancellor George Osborne has strongly defended the Government's controversial welfare reforms today, insisting the system was "fundamentally broken" and had to change.

Those who defend the current benefits system are going to complain loudly. These vested interests always complain, with depressingly predictable outrage, about every change to a system which is failing. I want to take the argument to them.

Because defending every line item of welfare spending isn't credible in the current economic environment. Because defending benefits that trap people in poverty and penalise work is defending the indefensible.

The benefit system is broken; it penalises those who try to do the right thing; and the British people badly want it fixed. We agree - and those who don't are on the wrong side of the British public.

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