Working families hit twice as hard by Coalition cuts as jobseekers

TUC research will be damaging to David Cameron

Social Affairs Editor

Working families will be the worst hit by the latest welfare reforms, facing twice as many social security cuts as the unemployed, research by the TUC shows.

The findings will be an embarrassment for David Cameron, who has made repeated pledges that the Government will make life better “hard-working families”. The damaging report comes just days after the Prime Minister promised to make sure policies passed the “family test” and benefited parents and their children.

Three quarters of all welfare cuts to people of working age will be on working households, according to analysis of welfare changes announced in the current Parliament by Landman Economics for the TUC. Almost half of these affected people in work are families with children.

Overall, working households will suffer benefit cuts worth £17.9bn a year by the financial year to 2017, more than twice the level (£6.2bn a year) experienced by those out of work.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Ministers like to say that their welfare reforms target work-shy scroungers and will get them back to work. But the fact is that the bulk of the cuts hit low-paid families already in work, as well as pensioners who have no way to make up the money lost as a result of the Chancellor’s social security axe.

“With nearly half the total cost of welfare changes falling on working families with children, the Prime Minister has already failed his own new family test, announced just this week.”

Working families with children stand to lose the most – £11.7bn a year. Out of work families with children will lose a further £2.3bn a year, bringing the total cost of welfare cuts to families with children to £14.1bn a year by 2017.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “This detailed analysis from the TUC reveals just how hollow the talk of supporting hardworking families has been when it comes to social security. Despite the crude caricatures used to justify many of them, the dozens of cuts we’ve seen since 2010 to benefits and tax credits haven’t fallen primarily on people unfortunate to be out of work because they’ve lost their jobs, but on working families, including those with children.”

The TUC says the impact of the benefits cap – which targets around 65,000 mainly workless households and is projected to save £500m a year - is dwarfed by cuts in support to working families and pensioners.

The biggest single area of welfare cuts announced has been the £13.8bn of annual cuts to tax credits – more than 90 per cent of which will hit working families. Those in work will also face more than 90 per cent of the cuts in child benefit, losing £3.4bn a year by 2017.

Shadow Work and Pensions Minister Kate Green, said: “While millionaires have seen their taxes cut, ordinary families have been hit hard by the Tories’ cost-of-living crisis and unfair policies like the hated Bedroom Tax, which catches 220,000 households with children. And projected spending on social security is going up not down, because more and more working people are reliant on tax credits and housing benefit to pay for food, fuel and rent. Labour will stand up for parents struggling to make ends meet by extending free childcare, tackling low pay and freezing energy prices.”‪

Many of the reductions in social security support follow a stealth cut to benefits, announced in June 2010, where the inflation measure used to increase benefits every year was changed from RPI to the lower CPI measure.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “This Government inherited a benefits system in meltdown, which trapped the very families it was designed to help in cycles of worklessness and welfare dependency. Our welfare reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with Universal Credit making three million households better off and lifting up to 250,000 children out of poverty.”

Case study: "How can the Government do this to hard-working families?"

Mark Payne, 42, a supermarket delivery driver, had his Child Tax Credit reduced from £180 to £160 a week in April.

The father-of-three, who earns about £14,000 a year, said the loss of just over £1,000 a year has been “absolutely horrendous.”

It has left him and his partner Agnes McFadyen, 32, who works two days a week on £7.28 an hour, struggling to provide for their children Brandon, 11, Analiece, nine, and Layla, two.

Mr Payne, from Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Scotland, said: “I find myself thinking about it 24/7. We try to keep the food nutritious, but sometimes you have to buy the kids food you don’t really want to give them, like chicken nuggets, because they’re cheap – a bag of 70 for less than £2.

“This year, we’ve had to tell the kids there’ll be no summer holiday. My wee boy tells me ‘It’s all right Dad, I know things are tight.’

“He makes me proud, but it’s also heartbreaking. You feel you are letting them down."

Mr Payne’s five-day week involves working on Saturdays as well as two evening shifts and one 10-hour day.

“My two days off are when Agnes is working, so we hardly ever see each other. We haven’t had a night out on our own for about five years. You work hard to provide for your kids, and to end up with hardly anything from it is soul destroying. How can the Government do this to hard-working families? They won’t do anything to their friends the bankers, but they’ve stabbed us in the back.”

Adam Lusher

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...