While attention is being heaped on scrounger Maria Miller fiddling her expenses and her am-I-bovvered-sorry.. Iain Duncan Smith jumps to her defence by claiming she is a victim of a witch-hunt. Funny that coming from witch-finder general IDS who has been leading the braying mob armed with pitchforks and torches against people on benefits for some time now. But when it comes to one of their own caught with their sticky fingers in the till it’s a different story. Hypocrisy… much!
It is also worth putting all of this into some kind of perspective. Maria “am-I-bovvered” Miller scrounging off the state and doing quite well out of it thank-you-very-much while the poor are getting a lot more poorer.
Freezing or capping benefit levels and changing the way benefits are adjusted over time means that living standards of people more dependent on benefits will fall relative to the rest of the population. This might entrench poverty for families who depend on income support. As benefit reductions cumulate over time, it could also partly reverse progress made over the past decade in reducing child poverty, and create a need for costly social interventions in the future.
Years of real-terms cuts to child benefit, statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will leave expectant and new parents up to £450 a year worse off – enough to buy a year’s supply of nappies, baby wipes and babygrows, the TUC says today (Friday), ahead of the annual increase in benefits on Sunday.
The four key benefits for expectant and new parents – statutory maternity pay (SMP), statutory paternity pay (SPP), statutory adoption pay (SAP) and child benefit – are going up by one per cent this Sunday (6 April), but this is a real-terms cut as the cost of living (as measured by RPI inflation) is rising by 2.7 per cent.
The same can be said of the annual uprating of all the benefits that people rely on. The bedroom tax continues to cause misery in a fairly random manner while doing nothing to end the “problem of under-occupation” in the social housing sector. The poor, whether working or not, have only been spared the punitive regime of universal credit because the government’s incompetence collapsed the development of the IT needed for it.