After five years of a Conservative led Coalition government, which has brought in Welfare reforms that have seen huge cuts in the Welfare budget.David Cameron last week gave an interview to ‘The Independent’. in which he said: “I haven’t changed. I am a compassionate Conservative”, “We had to make difficult decisions”, he said:. “I would argue that this has been done in a compassionate way. We protected the poorest.”
Well lets look at the facts of how the “poorest” have fared under the his “compassionate” austerity.
The poorest people in the UK (living below the poverty line) one in five of the population – have faced 39% of all cuts, including to social care and community services,Disabled people have borne 29% of the cuts, making them nine times more likely than the average person to have been affected.Children have faired no better,with 3.5 million now living in poverty,that’s 27% or more than one in four and 93,000 children are now living in temporary accommodation.Over a million people used a food bank last year.5 million people now claim housing benefit,which has risen by £650m a year on average since 2010 and 1.8 million people are now on waiting lists for social housing.
The “Compassionate” Conservatives have been more than happy to continue the myth that all people claiming benefits are “skivers”, which has fed into sensational stories appearing in the right-wing press on a daily basis, about benefit cheats or poor families with hundreds of children, happy to ‘milk’ the system! This has allowed Iain duncan Smith to introduce a limit to how much can be claimed in benefits, £500 per week for single parents and couples with children and £350 for a single person.The cap has disproportionately affected lone parents and those on the ‘children in need’ register ( children,who are at risk of abuse or neglect, or disabled) an estimated 175,000 children.Since the welfare cap has been introduced it has only saved 0.05% of the welfare budget
The irony of the ‘Benefit skivers’ myth, is that in the last year over 5.3 million working people, 22% of all working people have claimed in-work benefits, costing £11bn a year, due to low wages.The number of ‘hard working’ people claiming housing benefit has more than doubled under the Coalition to over a million claimants.The majority (59%) of children living in poverty live in a household where at least one adult works.
So what does “Compassionate” Dave have in store for ‘protecting’ the poorest next,if he is elected Prime minister?
The Conservatives have already said that a further £12bn will be cut from the welfare budget,but will not say where the cuts will fall.The benefit cap will be lowered to £440.79 per week, leading to over one million men,women and children evicted from social housing and being moved into temporary accommodation and Child poverty will continue to rise.to an estimated 5 million children by 2020,The Housing benefit bill will hit £25bn by 2017.