At the beginning of July this year we saw the introduction of the national rollout of the Government’s Benefit Cap.
This proposal saw the beginning of a cap on the overall amount a household can receive in benefits.
The idea being that people cannot claim more in benefits than the average working household income (equivalent to a pre-tax figure of around £35,000).
The Labour government left a welfare system which provided a disincentive to work and trapped people in poverty.
At the same time the public lost trust in the system which was supposed to provide a safety net for people who had lost their jobs but now provided a perception that a life on benefits was not only possible, but would result in a higher average standard of living.
Now four months down the line new figures have shown 19,000 households have had their benefits capped nationally and that without such a restriction some people would still be receiving, from the taxpayer, the equivalent of almost a £70,000 salary each year. Thanks to the Government’s Benefit Cap, 960 households in the East Midlands are no longer able to claim more in benefits than the average family earns by going out to work.
At the same time we have seen other reforms to ensure that it always pays to remain in work.
For instance, the Government has capped local housing allowance rates so families claiming housing benefit in the private sector cannot make unlimited claims.
We have also ensured benefits do not rise faster than wages as had been the case under the previous Labour Government.
Under 13 years of Labour, a something for nothing culture was allowed to develop and unfortunately it seems that lessons have not been learned.
‘New figures have shown 19,000 households have had their benefits capped’
For instance, just over a year ago, Labour voted in the House of Commons against the introduction of the Benefit Cap.
At the same time we have seen Labour calling for a large yearly increase in benefits by opposing the 1% yearly up-rating (Welfare Benefits Up-rating Act 2013).
This may not appear like a large amount of money, however, by failing to support a more restrained 1% increase; Labour’s actions would cost over £10 billion over the next five years on this one measure alone and represents around 25% of our annual defence budget.
When taken together, all of the welfare savings Labour have opposed since May 2010 come to a cumulative total of £83 billion by 2015-16 which equates to over half of the total the Government is projected to collect in Income Tax this forthcoming financial year.
It is all very well preaching iron discipline on spending but Labour’s voting record does not identify with their rhetoric.
By contrast the Conservative-led government is taking steps to address our nation’s finances.
The recent figures from the Benefit Cap are just one example of how we are ensuring fairness in our system as we set about the task of fixing the economy that was left broken after 13 years of a Labour government.