Tory MPs pushed through a motion that will see increases to working-age benefits like Child Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits frozen at just 1% until April 2019.
People claiming State Pension, Personal Independence Payment, Carer’s Allowance, and those deemed to have ‘limited work capability’ under Universal Credit will all see their payments rise by 3%, the Mirror reports.
Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams MP, said the freeze, which has been in force since 2013, “has had an extremely detrimental impact upon millions of people on low incomes across the UK”.
“The Government’s decision to limit the cap on uprating to 1% between 2013 and 2015, and the subsequent freeze on the vast majority of social security payments, has seen low-income households suffer a significant deterioration in the adequacy of social security support”, she said.
Neil Gray, the SNP’s social justice spokesman, said the Government should “end the freeze and lift children out of poverty”, while the Liberal Democrat’s welfare spokesman Stephen Lloyd branded the decision “absolutely deplorable”.
But DWP Minister Kit Malthouse claimed the benefits system was “a fraud perpetrated upon the poor, more often than not designed to keep them poor”.
“We are helping the poorest pensioners who count on pensions credit, and providing support to disabled people and their carers,” said Malthouse.
He added: “There seems to be a kind of Stockholm Syndrome attachment to the old benefits system on the opposition benches despite the fact that this system is very obviously a fraud perpetrated upon the poor, more often than not designed to keep them poor rather than give them the tools and the ladders to climb to take control of their own lives and take financial control of that of their families into the future.”
The Joseph Rowntree foundation said in November 2017 that the continued freeze on benefits is likely to push half a million more people into poverty, adding that Chancellor Philip Hammond had “made the wrong call to press ahead with a damaging freeze on benefits”.