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Most Britons say poor people deserve support. So what do Sunak’s Tories do? Cut, cut, cut | Polly Toynbee

Most Britons say poor people deserve support. So what do Sunak’s Tories do? Cut, cut, cut | Polly Toynbee

Most Britons say poor people deserve support. So what do Sunak’s Tories do? Cut, cut, cut | Polly Toynbee
Feb 27, 2024 1 min, 12 secs

Every organisation concerned with the cost of living and children going without is trying to alert the public to the worsening crisis, ahead of the budget.

This month, poverty will rise, and not by accident, as 6.4 million people on universal credit lose their cost of living support payment.

Yet amid all the chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s fantasy talk of “headroom” for tax cuts (his putative billions wax and wane with the moon), no Tory urges him to stop this poverty acceleration.

The IPPR report says a million people could be taken out of poverty instantly at the cost of £12bn a year by doing three things: adding £50 a month to universal credit; removing the benefit cap and the two-child limit; and giving second earners a working allowance so they don’t start losing universal credit when they take a job.

Keen to win SNP seats, Labour needs to outdo them: giving families on universal credit an extra £25 a week lifts 90,000 Scottish children above the poverty line.

Even suggesting jobcentres should help people into better jobs with careers, not “any job” in the zero-hours gig economy, had the Tory work and pensions secretary weaponise it in last week’s Sun: “Sir Softie: Sir Keir Starmer’s ‘soft touch’ approach to benefits ‘could cost taxpayers £450m a year’, under Labour plans ‘to water down benefit rules’.” Misled by press like this, Tories are out of step with any but their dwindling devotees.

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