IDS hails coalition benefits policy

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The welfare state is growing at the slowest pace since its creation thanks to the coalition’s “reversal of reckless spending”, Iain Duncan Smith is to claim.

The Work and Pensions Secretary will hail a new government analysis suggesting the cost of benefits has increased by just 0.5% per year in real terms since 2010 – slower than at any point since 1948.

He will say the bill has been kept down through a “life transformation” of bringing people back into the workplace.

The Tory pre-election pitch comes in a keynote speech to a conference being staged by the Reform think-tank.

“Through all our reforms, the aim has been the renewal of a dynamic welfare system no longer just putting money in, maintaining people in dependency but achieving meaningful outcomes at the other end, helping people to secure independence for themselves and their families,” Mr Duncan Smith will say.

“This is the positive life change that drives down demand for welfare, in turn reducing spending.

“As a result, our reforms are forecast to save a total of nearly £50 billion cumulatively across this Parliament.

“Now, as we look back over the course of the Parliament, figures show that the growth in welfare spending has been at its lowest since the modern welfare state was created.

“That is a momentous reversal of Labour’s reckless spending.

“But even more significant is the life transformation that we have achieved at the same time: 1.75 million more people in work – defying the Opposition Leader’s gloomy forecasts that a million jobs would disappear.”

Mr Duncan Smith will argue there are more women and young people in work, and more older workers than ever before.

“Remarkably, there are now 700,000 fewer people in workless households and 270,000 fewer people living in social housing who are without work – bringing the proportion of those in social housing now in work to its highest since records began.”

Meanwhile, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves is warning that Tory policies would increase the benefit bill.

In a speech, the front bencher will attack the coalition’s failure to “make work pay”.

The number of working people claiming housing benefit has risen by 66% since 2010 to over a million, she will claim.

In Havering the figures have gone up by 110%, while in Sheffield the rise is 106%. If average earnings growth remains below forecasts by the same amount in the next parliament, it will add GBP9 billion to social security spending, according to Ms Reeves.

Delivering her speech at the Bloomberg HQ, Ms Reeves will say: “The number of working people reliant on Housing Benefit to keep a roof over their head will have more than doubled over the decade at a cost of over £14 billion.

“According to new analysis we are publishing today from the House of Commons library, five more years of Tory failure to make work pay, with wages falling short of expectations to the same extent in the next parliament as they have in this, will mean we face another £9 billion in social security spending on top of that already projected – a £337 bill for every household in the country.”

Published: Wednesday 4th February 2015 by The News Editor

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