Benefits freeze: Families facing another 12 months of misery

Responding to the Government confirming the four-year freeze on working-age benefits and tax credits will remain in place, Campbell Robb, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said:

“At a pen stroke, millions of families had news confirmed in a written ministerial statement that their incomes will fall even further relative to prices over the next year.

“We know the benefits freeze will push almost half a million more people in poverty and the Government has chosen not to offer any relief.

“With wages showing no sign of recovery, costs rising and the Budget offering precious little help for the worst off, people just about managing face another 12 months of misery.

“The failure of benefits and tax credits to keep pace with prices since 2010 means a couple with two kids will be £832 a year worse off by 2020 – equivalent to a third of their annual food shopping bill.

“People across the country tell us they are cutting their cloth to make ends meet. But the cloth is getting even more threadbare.

“The freeze is the single biggest policy driver behind rising poverty by the end of the Parliament. With inflation higher than forecast at the time this policy was introduced circumstances have changed, so policy needs to change too.”