Labour has clarified its position over a contentious Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy. But when you check it, it really doesn’t go far enough; potentially leaving millions of people worse off than they should be.
The DWP: freezing all over
In April 2016, the government brought in the benefits freeze. This meant the DWP would not increase the amount paid for some working age benefits until April 2020. It followed a cap on increases at 1% from April 2013. The benefits affected are:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
- Child Benefit.
- Housing Benefit.
- Tax credits.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work-Related Activity Group.
- Universal Credit (not disability elements).
The government said the freeze would save it £3.9bn a year. But now, Labour has moved on the policy.
Labour making moves
As Mirror journalist Dan Bloom tweeted, Labour’s position on the benefits freeze was unclear:
Source: Labour’s new DWP pledge is only a half measure | The Canary
You could not make this up, it would be funny if it was not for the serious consequences these ridiculous reasons have caused by being used to stop peoples tax credits, just proves Concentrix are not ‘fit for purpose’ and by association neither is HMRC. If Concentrix has not committed a crime, then it should have been.
Concentrix stopped people’s benefits because it didn’t realise RS McColl is a chain of Scottish newsagents, not a secret lover
Source: Tax credit victims accused of having a relationship with a CORNER SHOP – Mirror Online
Now what about the DWP and their contracts with ATOS, Maximus, and Capita.
HMRC have announced they won’t be renewing the US outsourcing firm’s contract after they fouled up dozens of tax credit claims
Source: Concentrix to be stripped of HMRC contract over tax credits blunders that left vulnerable out of pocket – Mirror Online
By mentioning the National Living Wage this assumes that every employer will be able to afford to pay this to their employees.
Certainly within the care sector this may not be so, as many fees to care providers are funded through payment from local authority social services departments. With the Government austerity cuts reducing Government funding to local authorities, this as a negative impact on funds local authorities have to pay increased fees to service providers.
So what is the outcome, either reduce the hours of care to individuals requiring care so then not meeting their assessed needs or maintain existing hours and not increase fees so therefore the service providers will within time be unable to afford to retain staff and also make the business not viable.
Both will have dire consequences for those individuals requiring care as there will be insufficient resources available.
Funding to local authorities needs to be not only maintained but increased.