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Is the benefits freeze going to end?

  • 24/10/2019

This article is over a year old

End of the freeze now seems in doubt

money under ice

Over the past four years, the benefit freeze has caused thousands of low-income families within the UK to struggle financially.

The freeze on Universal Credit and other benefits, which began in 2015, has led to numerous families across Britain to be around £580 a year worse off.

Under the previous Secretary of State for Department of Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, it is believed that the benefits freeze was to end in April 2020 and benefits were expected to rise by 1.7%.

However, the new Secretary, Thérèse Coffey, has cast doubt on this as she told the Work and Pensions Select Committee: “I can’t give you a definitive outcome on what we will do.”

If the freeze remains in place, one in three UK households are set to continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Frank Field, said: “Many families are facing hardship as the support they need through the welfare system is simply not keeping up with the rising costs of living.”

However, even if the freeze is removed, there are concerns that the freeze has permanently reduced the adequacy of benefits, unless they also make up for the loss in real value from the duration of the freeze.

Where does this leave our social security safety net?

Britain’s public service has given vital support when the public has needed it. The majority of people rely on public services such as the NHS, education and social security when they are exposed to poor health, have children or are just looking for help to cover their daily costs.

Today, large numbers of people find that work does not provide enough income for working parents to support themselves or their families; whether it be low pay, low hours or balancing work with social responsibilities.

This highlights the importance of social security for everybody across the country. However, the benefits freeze on working age benefits has led to core support for families to fall far behind the rising costs of living.

Written by Lawrence Gordon

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