ANOTHER MINISTER WRONG - Letter in the Independent 11/1/13

12 January 2013

ANOTHER MINISTER WRONG - Letter in the Independent 11/1/13.


Grant Shapps, the Conservative minister without portfolio ("Benefit reform will ensure work always pays," 6 January), tells us: "Since 2007, the pay of those working in the private sector rose by 12 per cent [and at the same time 1 benefits going to working age increased by twice that amount".

That needs some qualification. Research by Professor Jonathan Bradshaw of York University has shown that the £71 a week job-
seeker's allowance paid to single adults from April 2012, after rent and council tax, has not increased for decades. When it started in 1912 it was seven shillings a week, about 22 per cent of average male earnings in manufacturing. By 1979, when the Conservatives were elected,it was still about 21 per cent of average earnings.

By 2008, as a , result of the policy, unchanged by the Labour government, of tying benefits to the price index while real earnings increased, it had fallen to an all-time low of 10.5 per cent of average earnings, It has not increased in real terms since then.

Taxpayers Against Poverty,

PS.  Benefits are decreasing relative to the prices of the necessities of food, fuel, clothes and transport due to the move of up-rating from RPI to CPI. Will decrease further if the Bill to freeze increases at 1% gets through Parliament.

Some will also be hit by the housine benefit cap and the £500 overall benefit cap. There are £6837 adults aged up to 60 receiving the job-seekers allowance at £71 a week and 479 unemployed couples with two children with JSA at £258 a week. Those incomes to pay the tax from £3.18 a week to £7.43 a week. The tax will be reducing the already limited capacity of these residents to pay for food and fuel. PN