JRF response to George Osborne’s speech – Tougher times await for families living in poverty

Reacting to George Osborne’s speech at Conservative party conference, chief executive of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Julia Unwin, said:

“George Osborne said today that the country cannot afford such a high working age benefits bill. He is right - poverty is a risk, waste and cost we cannot afford.

“But the plan to freeze welfare for two further years will make things worse for our economy, with more people living below the poverty line leading to lower tax revenues and the wasted potential of millions

“The economy is beginning to recover, but for people on low incomes, the forecasts are heading in the wrong direction. Without concerted action, millions of people are going to find it harder to meet their basic needs and have already borne a sizeable burden of deficit reduction in this parliament.

“Only by tackling the underlying causes of poverty and the high benefits bill – such as low pay and expensive housing – we will see the welfare spend fall.

“George Osborne talked about the importance of choice - for many families today, their choices just got a whole lot tougher.”