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".

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Osborne: 'This month we will make work pay'

Chancellor George Osborne has defended welfare and tax changes that are being introduced this month.

In a speech, he said: "For too long we've had a system where people who did the right thing, who get up in the morning and work hard felt penalised for it. While people who did the wrong thing got rewarded for it. That's wrong.

Chancellor George Osborne said: "This month we're going to put things right".

"So, this month we're going to put things right. This month, nine out of ten working households will be better off as a result of the changes we are making. This month we will make work pay".

Government welfare and tax policies 'punish families'

If the Chancellor is really interested in making work pay he shouldn't be taking an axe to vital in-work benefits that so many low-income workers rely upon.

Mr Osborne is keen to play up the impact of the increase in the personal allowance. However, this is a policy that helps better off households more than it does those on lower and middle incomes and which does little to offset the damaging impacts of the VAT rise the Chancellor has already introduced.

The chief beneficiaries of George Osborne's fiscal policy this month will be the wealthiest in our society who can look forward to a five per cent cut in the top rate of tax.

– Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary

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Welfare cuts 'just like rationing during World War II'

Maria Brabiner has told ITV Daybreak that surviving the welfare cuts is just like rationing during World War II.

Maria, who has been unemployed since 2010, says she is desperately seeking employment in order to make ends meet. She lives on just over £70 a week.

She told Daybreak: "I'm treating it as a war situation.

"My mum and her generation survived World War II on rationing drastically food and heating and that's what people in my situation are going to have to do."

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Labour: The average family will be worse off

Commenting ahead of George Osborne's welfare reform speech, shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie pointed out that the top rate of tax was being cut from 50p to 45p.

Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie.
Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie. Credit: Press Association.

"While millionaires get an average £100,000 tax cut this week Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures show that the average family will be £891 worse off this year because of tax and benefit changes since 2010," he said.

"And just looking at the new changes this week the poorest 10% are losing £127 while the richest 10% gain 10 times that - £1265. Labour would not be making these deeply unfair choices this week."

Welfare system reform has begun to take effect

A raft of changes to the welfare benefits system came into force on Monday, with more being introduced throughout the month. The controversial changes include:

  • The under-occupancy penalty, dubbed a 'bedroom tax' by opponents and a 'spare-room subsidy' by ministers. Around 660,000 families will lose an average £14 housing benefit a week in a move ministers hope will save £500 million a year.
  • Council tax benefit has also been replaced by a new system run by local authorities but with 10% less funding.
  • Working-age benefits and tax credits will rise by a below-inflation one percent from April 6 - the start of a three-year cap that represents a real-terms cut.
  • From April 8 disability living allowance (DLA) begins to be replaced by the personal independence payment (PIP), which charities say will remove support from many in real need.

Osborne: Welfare overhaul 'will make work pay'

Speaking at a supermarket in Kent later today, Chancellor George Osborne will insist that nine out of 10 working households will be better off as a result of the welfare and tax changes.

Chancellor George Osborne. Credit: Press Association

"For too long, we've had a system where people who did the right thing - who get up in the morning and work hard - felt penalised for it, while people who did the wrong thing got rewarded for it," he will say.

"That's wrong... This month we will make work pay."

Mr Osborne will dismiss "depressingly predictable outrage" about reforms, saying he wants to "take the argument" to critics.

"Because defending every line item of welfare spending isn't credible in the current economic environment," he is to say.

"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."

George Osborne to defend coalition's welfare reforms

George Osborne will mount an uncompromising defence of the coalition's controversial benefits shake-up today, insisting Britain can no longer afford to reward people who do the "wrong thing".

The Chancellor is to condemn the old system as "broken", warning Labour that they are out of step with public opinion on the issue.

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to defend the coalition's welfare reforms in a speech today.

The intervention comes after 660,000 social housing tenants deemed to have a spare room began to lose an average £14 a week in what critics have dubbed a "bedroom tax".

Wider welfare and tax changes coming into force this month will also see council tax benefit funding cut, and working-age benefits and tax credit rises pegged at 1% - well below inflation - for three years.

Disability living allowance (DLA) is being replaced by the personal independence payment (PIP), while trials are due to begin in four London boroughs of a £500-a-week cap on household benefits, and of the new Universal Credit system.

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