Benefit cuts

The announcement that the government wants a further £10 billion in benefit cuts is not a great surprise. I wrote in 2010: “What is happening, on the contrary, is an incremental series of cuts which cannot have the effect the government intends. It follows that, before very long, they will be back for more.” And so they are. (The paper is part of Radical Statistics 103, The Cuts.) The fundamental problem is that two thirds of benefit expenditure – scheduled to rise to 70% in the next five years – goes to pensioners. Less than 10% of the benefits bill goes on unemployment and incapacity benefits. The main targets will be disability and housing benefits, because that’s where the money goes, but the scope to cut benefits is very, very limited.

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