Charities call for government to scrap welfare cuts

Homeless Link, and the charities The Children’s Society and Barnados are among 20 charities and organisations backing the call to the government to scrap its latest welfare cuts ahead of a key commons vote tomorrow.  An open letter, published yesterday in the Observer newspaper, warns that plans to cap increases in benefits will cause hardship to millions of people.

The letter said: “If introduced, this hardship penalty will hurt millions of families across the country – families already struggling to pay for food, fuel, rent and other basics.  The government must make sure that increases in benefit rates at the very least reflect rises in the cost of living. Otherwise, this toll will deepen inequality and increase poverty.”

It explained thousands of people have had to turn to food banks for help and 6 million households are struggling to heat their homes.

Chancellor George Osborne announced last month that increases to local housing allowance base rates, which are used to calculate housing benefit for private renters, will be capped at 1% – less than the rate of inflation – for two years from April 2014. Most working age benefits, including employment and support allowance, income support, and jobseekers allowance will also be uprated by 1% over the next three years, as will child tax credits and working tax credits.

MPs are due to debate and vote on the measure, contained in a piece of legislation called the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill, tomorrow. Labour has said it will vote against.

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