There will be “no new search for cuts in individual welfare benefits” the secretary of state for work and pensions, Damian Green, has pledged. Green’s predecessor, Stephen Crabb, made the same promise in March. It sounds like the Tory austerity agenda is over. But is not.
Green confirmed that inherited current and planned cuts, amounting to billions of pounds by the end of the decade, would go ahead. The cuts will be the same as it would have been had Osborne still been in post: the living standards of millions of “just managing” low-income working households will continue to suffer, and the very poorest and most vulnerable will become poorer.
When you have frozen working-age benefit rates until the end of the decade, taking £7bn from the pockets of the less well-off at a time when living costs are rising, and are steaming ahead with a nasty household benefit cap that in theory will save the taxpayer £100m a year but push 250,000 children into even deeper poverty, how much further can you go? That is to name just two social security cuts. Billions more are planned between now and 2020: there are relatively high-profile measures, such as £30 a week cuts to employment and support allowance payments for chronically ill and disabled people found unfit for work; and there is the gradual introduction of more technical cuts buried in universal credit amounting to over £7bn by 2020, such as the two child limit, and reductions to work allowances.
The ruling class have made no secret of who will be their next target. The pensioners. The blame game has already begun with encouraging inter-generational rivalry.