Tory welfare reforms trapping vulnerable people in poverty

September 1, 2014

Emma Lewell-Buck 09 smallEmma highlighted the Coalition’s failure on work and welfare, as Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves explained Labour’s plan to deal with the root causes of welfare spending.

The Coalition claimed they would deal with what they called ‘dependency’ on welfare, but under David Cameron we are seeing the worst of both worlds – benefits are being cut for those who genuinely need them, while falling wages and rising prices mean that increasing numbers of working people now have to rely on benefits to survive.

The Tories’ reforms have seen hundreds of thousands of disabled people lose out on much-needed support.  Even those who qualify face lengthy delays – one constituent waited more than 9 months for their Personal Independence Payment.

At the same time, a lack of secure, well-paid jobs and the rise of zero-hours contracts mean that just having a job is no longer a way out of poverty for millions of families.  Two thirds of children living in poverty in Britain today come from working households.  This includes over 5,000 children in South Shields.

These families work hard and want to pay their own way, but insecure work and falling wages make it impossible.  As a result more working households are claiming Housing Benefit than ever before – the number of households claiming Housing Benefit in the North East alone has risen by two thirds.

Labour will bring the benefits bill down by dealing with the root causes – low pay and job insecurity.  A Labour government in 2015 will set a target level for the Minimum Wage and will give businesses incentives to pay the higher living wage.  Labour will also outlaw exploitative zero-hours contracts and will create a Jobs Guarantee to get the long term unemployed back into work.

These policies will reward people who work hard and make sure that work is a reliable route out of poverty for the lowest-paid.

Emma said:

“The Tories talk about being tough on welfare, but their record shows they have completely failed to bring down the benefits bill and reward those who work hard.

“Even worse, the shambles at the Department for Work and Pensions means hundreds of thousands of people in genuine need are missing out on support. Every week I hear from constituents who have been waiting months for disability payments, or who are facing abject poverty because of the cruel bedroom tax.

“It is only fair that people who do the responsible thing and work hard are rewarded, and that is at the heart of what a Labour government will do in 2015. “

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