Wendy Chamberlain slams Government for “callous” benefits decision

The UK Government has confirmed that it is only going to raise benefits by the rate of inflation last September. This is what it normally does. However, it looks like inflation is going to almost double between September and April, when the changes take place.

The Government will be putting an order before Parliament to raise benefits by 3.1% which is not much good when inflation is expected to be 6% by April.

If you think about how energy costs are soaring, this is really going to impact on disabled people. They tend to have higher heating bills to start with, but when you factor in the special equipment, for example scooters, electric wheelchairs or oxygen tanks, which gobble up electricity, this is going to cause huge hardship.

Wendy Chamberlain, the Lib Dem DWP spokesperson has called on the Government to raise benefits by 6% to match the expected rate of inflation in April:

She said:

“In the face of spiralling energy bills, the Conservatives are leaving some of the most vulnerable worse off. In the same breath, they are outrageously writing off billions in stolen Covid payments and crooked PPE contracts.

“This callous Government is happy to let their mates off the hook while taking money out of peoples’ pockets while the country is struggling with the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

“Ministers must immediately reverse this decision and bring forward a rise in benefits in line with April’s inflation figure – expected to reach 6%.”

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Brad Barrows 19th Jan '22 - 7:46am

    Putting this in context, I’m sure low paid council workers who are getting 1% pay increases would be delighted to receive a 3.1% pay increase. How about a few articles supporting a significant pay increase for our low paid council workers, even if taxes have to be increased to pay for it?

  • Nonconformistradical 19th Jan '22 - 8:35am

    @Brad Barrows
    “I’m sure low paid council workers who are getting 1% pay increases would be delighted to receive a 3.1% pay increase.”

    The rate of inflation appears to be higher than 3.1% at present. Why do you think low paid council workers should be delighted to end up with purchasing powerbased on a 3.1% pay increase but which would still leave them out of pocket?

    The lower paid you are the greater the share of your income which is spent on basic necessities – and even then you might not be able to afford all the basic necessities.

  • Nigel Hunter 19th Jan '22 - 9:59am

    Low wages also equals less disposable income that then hits the economy cos less spent in it.Coupled with inflation this increases poverty levels . Refusing to get rid of VAT (other countries have done it) is just another hit on peoples income to stave of that poverty. I assume that Johnson is not reducing VAT cos his well off bosses have no interest on having to spend more of their wealth.Relying on their support he is a prisoner on this issue.Getting rid of VAT will help a lot of people.

  • Wendy is right to raise this important point. I’m not sure how much good it will do, as it will be easy to hide behind them following the usual protocol, and the usual bluster about ‘record increases in x, y and z’ or whatever it is they are saying.

    I think the gas price crisis is getting the attention of a lot of people who wouldn’t normally pay much attention to inflation, meaning people are questioning whether our usual way of doing things is right.

    Council employees, along with many in the public sector deserve better pay rises too, but it’s more critical that the most vulnerable, those who need benefit, are the focus of consideration here.

    It is, however, probably a good time to remind everyone that pay rises for council employees are beneficial to the local economy. They are the sort of people who are likely to be spending in local shops, and for local services.a

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Jan '22 - 12:40pm

    noncomformistradical, you are correct and compassionate here. Poorer and low paid struggle to pay, for television, too!

  • David Goble 20th Jan '22 - 9:23am

    My feeling is that this Government has absolutely no idea as to what life is like for those people who are low-paid and benefit-dependent and, what is much worse, does not care. I have said for some time now that this Government has no idea of how to govern the country and has no sense of responsibility for the welfare of the population.

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