Conservative conference: £10bn in welfare cuts 'disastrous' for families

Neil Puffett
Monday, October 8, 2012

Government plans to make an additional £10bn in cuts to the welfare budget risk having a disastrous impact on children and families, a charity has warned.

Family Action has accused George Osborne of "scraping the barrel for cuts". Image: HM Treasury
Family Action has accused George Osborne of "scraping the barrel for cuts". Image: HM Treasury

Chancellor George Osborne outlined the proposals at the Conservative party conference today, reiterating his desire to cut the deficit.

He suggested money could be saved by limiting housing benefit for under-25s, limiting the number of children in a family that would be supported on benefits, and making benefit increases lower than the rate of inflation.

The additional £10bn in cuts by 2016/17, which come on top of £18bn announced in 2010, have come in for criticism from the charity Family Action.

Rhian Beynon, head of policy and campaigns at the organisation, said many families are already struggling to make ends meet, heat their homes and put food on the table.

“Plans to curb child tax credit and below-inflation rises in welfare support will put further pressure on family finances which are already in meltdown,” she added.

“George Osborne is scraping the barrel for cuts that do not make good economic sense. Removing housing benefit from under-25s will make it even more difficult for hard-pressed young people to find employment and move on.

"It is not the answer. Neither is punishing children because a parent is out of work.

“There is already a welfare cap coming in that places limitations on benefits for large families. These further cuts to the welfare budget could spell disaster for the children and families we support.”

Public and Commercial Services Union general secretary Mark Serwotka said money was being taken from the sick, disabled and vulnerable.

"If we as a society refuse to support our most vulnerable we have lost the right to be called civilised,” he said.

He added that a focus on investment to create jobs and get people into work would bring down the welfare bill.


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