Welfare cap will push 345,000 children into poverty in just four years, warns Save the Children
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 26 March 2014
The cap on welfare spending approved by MPs will push 345,000 children into poverty over the next four years, the charity Save the Children has warned.
The Commons agreed by 520 votes to 22 to back the £119.5 billion ceiling on welfare spending in 2015-16 announced by George Osborne in his Budget last week. The Labour frontbench, anxious to sidestep the Chancellor’s “trap”, supported the move but 13 Labour backbenchers defied Ed Miliband by opposing it.
Research by Landman Economics for Save the Children found that £3 billion of savings would be needed for the Government to stay within the cap. As the state pension and Jobseeker’s Allowance are excluded, the pressure will be on working age benefits that parents rely on.
Will Higham, the charity’s director of UK poverty, said: “Parties need to explain how they will work to improve wages and welfare to ensure that work pays. Otherwise, the vote will become a straitjacket, binding future governments from taking action to stem a rising tide of child poverty.”
Diane Abbott, one of the Labour rebels, said: “This is not a game, this is about people's lives… [They] are not to be a matter of short-term political positioning.”
Diane Abbott was one of 13 Labour backbench rebels (PA)
In the Commons, Mr Osborne challenged Labour to say whether it supported the cap in principle rather than in its detailed application, claiming Labour had changed its language ahead of the vote to limit its backbench revolt. “Every time the Opposition is faced with a difficult decision, every time it is asked to prove its fiscal credibility, it buckles because it is weak,” he said.
Ed Balls, the shadow Chancellor, said: “We support capping social security spending, a policy the Leader of the Opposition [Mr Miliband] advocated last year. With welfare spending now £13bn higher than the Government planned in its spending review, Labour will make different and fairer choices to get the social security bill under control and tackle the root causes of rising spending.”
Asked whether Labour would cap the same benefits and use the same numbers as in the Budget, Mr Balls replied: “Yes.”
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 4 African jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400,000 years
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
African jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400,000 years
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales / Account Manager is re...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Software Application Developer (C# & ASP.Net, SQL S...