Friday, September 20, 2019
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Benefit freeze to cut a further £4.4bn from social security payments

The SNP has called on the Tory government to scrap the “callous” benefit freeze that will cut a further £4.4 billion from social security payments – almost a billion more than planned – as the toxic Tory policy enters its fourth and final year.

The benefit freeze, introduced by the Tories in 2016, has seen most working-age benefits remain at the same value as in 2015/16 whilst prices of goods and services have risen by 6.6% since then – a massive real-terms cut to people’s income.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0]

By the end of its final year the benefit freeze will have negatively affected more than 27 million people, and plunged 400,000 people into poverty.


This year alone will see a huge number of social security claimants worse off by hundreds of pounds – particularly people with disabilities and families with children who could be left over £700 poorer due to the additional detrimental impact of the Tory two-child cap.

If the freeze hadn’t been imposed, parents with one child would be better off by £255.20 this year and a disabled, lone parent on Universal Credit looking for work after April 2017 would be better off by £500.64.

Ending the freeze one year early would also benefit 2.1 million people in Scotland, with 800,000 benefiting from £100 or more this year, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said.

Jobcentre Plus sign.

Neil Gray MP, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “The Tory government must scrap the final year of the callous benefit freeze and increase benefits in line with inflation before a further £4.4 billion – almost a billion more than planned – is taken from the pockets of those least able to bear it.

“By the end of its final year, the freeze will have affected more than 27 million people – five times the population of Scotland.

“Families with children and people with disabilities will be particularly worse off due to the two-child cap and cuts to disabled benefits, two policies also implemented by the Tories.

“Targeting austerity at the most disadvantaged and pursuing a policy that will plunge thousands into poverty is nothing short of a moral outrage, and this Tory government should hang its head in shame.


“The benefits freeze is a political choice, not a necessity, and the SNP opposed the policy from the beginning.

“The UK government must end the cruel approach and lift the freeze immediately.”


Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

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