On October 31, then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng is due to present a plan to fund the tax cuts announced in his controversial September mini-budget. It will include a decision on whether benefits will be increased by the same rate as wages – which at the current rate of 5.4% would equate to a reduction in real terms – or prices, which have risen by almost 10% during the year until August. New analysis by charity Joseph Rowntree Foundation finds that around 39% of working-age families on means-tested support in Preston – 15,963 households – will be impacted if benefits were to increase only in based on wages.
The planned increase would also apply to child allowances, which are claimed on behalf of 18,870 children in the region. Across the UK there are 193 Tory constituencies where a fifth or more of families stand to lose if benefits are only increased by wages, including Prime Minister Liz Truss’ seat of South West Norfolk . The same goes for 180 Labor seats and 34 held by the Scottish National Party.
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JRF says politicians need to “think long and hard” about withholding money from their constituents, saying the base benefit rate is at an all-time low in real terms. Katie Schmuecker, the charity’s senior policy adviser, said: ‘We know millions of families have already gone without the essentials this year, missing meals, not cooking hot meals or not taking hot showers. We know people are in arrears with bills or have gone into debt to pay basic expenses. It is unacceptable that the government is considering reducing their ability to pay for what they need,” she added.
Separate calculations from the child poverty action group estimate that around 200,000 children across the country could be pushed into poverty if the movement were to go ahead. The organization said the UK was already facing a “child poverty catastrophe” and the policy risked “ruining the lives of many more children”. And research by the Resolution Foundation found that some parents who work on Universal Credit could lose nearly £1,000 if support was only increased at the same rate as wages.
Some Tories have come out in favor of a more generous increase – Penny Mordaunt, a cabinet minister, said it made “logical” to increase benefits in line with inflation. A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘The Secretary of State begins her statutory annual review of state benefits and pensions from the end of October using the most recent price and income indices available. We’re committed to caring for the most vulnerable, which is why we’ve provided at least £1,200 in support to families this winter, while saving households an average of £1,000 a year through our Home Guarantee. energy price. This support comes on top of the annual benefit bill for people of working age, which is more than £87billion.