Commenting yesterday on George Osborne’s comment at the Treasury Select Committee on Thursday that he planned to cut an extra £12bn a year from the welfare and benefits bill, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Even if he completely abolished Jobseekers’ Allowance, Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay, Industrial Injuries Benefit and Carer’s Allowance, as well as ending all benefit fraud, he would still fail to meet his target.
“The £12bn the Chancellor plans to find is 10 times the government’s own estimate of benefit fraud. Even if he eliminated all fraud – something the government has completely failed to do so far – he would still need to make more than £10bn worth of cuts.
“Of course we should deal with abuse in the system but hard-working people make national insurance contributions to cover themselves against the costs of losing their job, having a baby or having an accident at work. This scale of cuts cannot be achieved without destroying the safety net that anyone at work might need.”
The Department for Work and Pensions’ most recent benefit expenditure tables show how much the government is currently forecast to spend on different elements of social security.
TUC analysis shows that even if the Chancellor abolished most of the safety net he would fail to meet the £12bn of annual welfare cuts the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has assessed will be necessary by 2018/19.