In response to the Chancellors Autumn Statement West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock was quoted as stating that it was ‘fair to hold down increases’ on benefits and that ‘Those going out to work are the people who pay for benefits’
Perhaps Mr Hancock has not yet found the time to review the excellent Joseph Rowntree report ‘Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion’ This report revealed the extent of in work poverty and impact of an under employed work force. The report identifies that 6.1 million people in poverty are in working households. Excluding pensioners, in-work poverty now outstrips workless poverty at 5.1 million households.
Low income households will suffer a double disadvantage because of income related and housing benefit changes. Planned changes to disability benefit could mean additional hardship for disabled people. Additionally House of Commons library research shows further inequalities in that out of the total £16bn George Osborne is raising in direct tax, credit, benefit, pay and pension changes, £12bn is being paid for by women.
What is happening is far from fair and the growth of families dependent on Food Banks in West Suffolk should be a warning to all of us who care about those made most vulnerable by our society. Mr Hancock’s comments are disappointing in that they endorse this governments continued onslaught and demonisation of those who are unable to work or perhaps live a decent life without needing some additional help.