A Department for Work and Pensions minister who has been branded as “flippant” has been forced to admit a factual error in a statement to MPs, over the ongoing debate about the controversal freeze to working-age benefits.
DWP Minister Justin Tomlinson MP made a factual blunder in claiming that the severe disability premium is set to increase from £77.65 per month to £79.50.
In truth, he should have been referring to the Severe Disablement Allowance which has risen slightly from £64.30 to just £65.85.
Whilst many people will not see this as a serious error, the fact that a Government minister cannot seem to differentiate between the two has been seen as a gross dereliction of duty and responsibility.
In another embarring blunder, Mr Tomlinson told MPs that the UK Government would “increase the basic and full rate of the new state pension” by either 2.5%, average earnings or inflation, whichever is highest.
However, he should have said that the UK Government would “increase the full rates of the Basic and New State Pensions” by the so-called triple lock.
He also falsely claimed that the ‘standard minimum guarantee’ – the threshold below which pensioner incomes should not fall – would rise to £160.25 for a single person, when the actual amount is figure is £167.25.
Mr Tomlinson also underestimated the cost of this plan, telling MPs that it cost the Treasury £3.5bn when the actual figure is £3.7bn.
He told MPs: “The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2019 maintains the government’s commitment to the triple lock for both the Basic State Pension and the New State Pension.
“The Order also increases benefits for carers, guardians and those with disabilities and long-term health conditions, sharing the proceeds of economic growth with some of the most vulnerable in society.
“I would like to clarify the points…and apologise to the House for these inadvertent errors.”
Mr Tomlinson was previously singled out over “flippant” ramarks when he cruelly claimed that vulnerable people could avoid the benefits cap by ‘renegotiating rent or taking in a lodger’.