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Suffolk: Benefit payments slashed for more than 200 households under flagship Coalition Government welfare reform

12:14 08 August 2014

The coalition has long argued that, at a time of major cut backs to public spending, the welfare budget cannot escape unscathed.

The coalition has long argued that, at a time of major cut backs to public spending, the welfare budget cannot escape unscathed.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2008

More than 200 families claiming benefits in Suffolk have had their payments cut following the Government’s controversial welfare reforms, new figures have revealed.

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The disclosure prompted claims the revamp has put a stop to “runaway benefit claims” and had returned “fairness” to the welfare system.

However, a senior Labour figure placed the coalition’s flagship scheme under fresh scrutiny, arguing a housing shortage combined with a cost-of-living crisis and a lack of controls on private landlords will cause hardship for families.

The data, released yesterday by the Government, showed 207 households in Suffolk have had their housing benefits capped between July last year, when it was introduced, and May 2014.

It was the highest in Ipswich (63), while in north-east Essex a total of 334 households were affected.

The reforms introduced a ceiling for the first time on the amount families can claim in welfare, such as Jobseekers’ Allowance, housing benefit and child benefit.

The new £26,000 limit, equivalent to a pre-tax salary of £35,000 a year, is designed to ensure households are always better off in work than on welfare.

Meanwhile, the research also showed how 121 Suffolk households with five children or more had been hit. It was 118 in north-east Essex.

The coalition has long argued that, at a time of major cut backs to public spending, the welfare budget cannot escape unscathed.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “If we are going to end benefit dependence and succeed in our long-term economic plan, we have to continue to reform welfare.

“Where there have been individual cases that need attention, people have come to me and I have often been able to help. But in general, people understand that welfare reform is necessary, not only for the country but also for those who deserve a second chance.”

Iain Duncan Smith, secretary of state for work and pensions, added: “By capping benefits we are putting a stop to these runaway benefit claims and returning fairness to the system.

“This government is fixing the broken welfare system we inherited, ensuring that it always pays more to be in work, and thereby encouraging thousands of people to move off benefits and into jobs.”

But Ipswich borough councillor John Cook, a Labour party agent, said: “The best way to tackle the benefits bill is for employers to start paying a living wage, introduce a fairer rent system to bring some level of control on rent payment – because in reality the housing benefit is not a benefit for the tenant; it is a benefit for private landlords – and build more homes.

“If things carry on the way there then the housing benefit system is going to spiral out of control.”

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18 comments

  • Yes that's write John Cook, blame high rents and employers, rather than Labour party policy that made welfare a lifestyle choice rather than a safety net. Under Labour, house prices tripled and council tax doubled. A combination of quadrupling annual levels of immigration and not building enough houses put us on the road to unaffordable property prices and high rents, in the first place, thanks to John Cook's Labour party.

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    RobbieS

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Labour's welfare splurge made it possible for people to generate a huge income by not working and having children. Personal responsibility was taken away and replaced with lavish hand outs, paid for by other people and excessive borrowing. Many people on benefits were, and still are, much better off than a considerable number of people who work. This has contributed to the £42 billion worth of debt we are in. The country is still paying a billion pounds of debt interest every week, money that would be better spent on schools and hospitals. Labour always runs out of other people's money and wrecks the economy whenever it is in power.

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    RobbieS

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

  • Clowe...We don't need to add any comments, Your obvious blinkered view of this countries economy and the bankrupt state left by the outgoing Labour party should tell you everything, well maybe to most people anyway!!!!....

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    keith hawes

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Waspie's wife..Well we didn't get housing benefit in the 70's. We also started out renting what we could afford. Ist was 4 out of 5 rooms at the top of an old lady's house in St.Helen's St. Next was a terrace, more privacy. Two fireplaces, no hot water, no bathroom and an outside loo..even had gas mantels still in place on the bedroom wall. Benefits have gone too far nowadays and I believe H.Benefit which eventually went straight to landlords helped push up rents. Because people could choose where they wanted to live instead of what they could afford and the daft benefit system paid it. If you wanted a council house, you had to be married and on a points system Then they gave houses and benefit away for single women having babies. Wanted a bigger house have another baby. Then you get the family like the one having 2 council homes knocked together. Crazy. So we have a culture of expectation rather than one of self responsibility. I bet the terrace I lived in would be looked down on today!!!

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    waspie

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • !KeithHawes the country has been bankcrupted by greedy bankers not working people, tories excuse is always to blame the poor, and as for you Waspie I am not on benefits so no cuts for me.

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    clowe

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Too many people like the Fisk's at Maidenhall in this country , sooner we change peoples attitude the better , to working rather than scrounging . Those on benefits should only be able to survive on what is given them , but you find some can holiday abroad ! Give them the absolute minimum and make it an embarrassment to be on the dole like it used to be .

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    Poppys Dad

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Equating the benefit cap with the minimum wage is a nonsense as a couple with children earning that amount would still need additional benefits to survive. The Government would have you believe that these reforms are targeting 'unemployed scroungers' and judging by the comments on here they're doing a good job - what about the thousands made redundant each month? How do you suddenly pay the rent, the bills, buy food? Even the government's own figures estimate that up to half those families affected by the reforms could be pushed into poverty - that they're determined to go ahead with them tells you all you need to know.

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    Nigel Noakes

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • I still say we should issue benefit cards for the heating cost food costs and rent. This way you know the benefit is been used for the right reasons. Benefits should not be used for the next fashion statement. I know to many family's on benefits that dress better than a working couple.

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    carrottop

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • I have to agree with you on this statement.

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    carrottop

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • The current min wage is £6.31 per hour or around £13,125 per year (on 40 hours a week). That's £26,250 a year for a couple both earning it BEFORE tax. The benefits are being capped at £35,000 before tax! So you are STILL better off on benefits than working. AND the benefit scroungers are STILL complaining about it.

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    RC

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Clowe,... sounds like you want everybody on benefits....Sounds like a recipe for a bankrupt country....Not very clever thinking!!!

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    keith hawes

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • I think it's perfectly reasonable to cap welfare. It's there as a safety net, not a permanent lifestyle choice.

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    Tamara Knight

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • Well Mr Cook, who's fault is it that not more council homes built, it must be the ruling Labour Party. We all know that labour party is the party for benefits, thank goodness at least IDS is dealing with this at long last!!

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    keith hawes

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • is £35k, £26 after tax, not based on two workers in the household? still higher than 2 people on minimum wage on a 40hr week (i think - wouldnt want to be quoted on that)

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    Chris_B84

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • @clowe..Well we all know that we can do that in May 2015 !, or are you talking about 'kneecapping' ?

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    freedomf

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • clowe....been cut have we...?? Someone had to put the brake on the benefit system...sometime. Good for IDS. Like RC says...a lot of people IN WORK can only dream of earning £26000 a year never mind £35000.

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    waspie

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • "The new £26,000 limit, equivalent to a pre-tax salary of £35,000 a year, is designed to ensure households are always better off in work than on welfare." - I can only dream of earning a salery like that and yet I've never had a penny in benefits. I must be doing something wrong.

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    RC

    Friday, August 8, 2014

  • I wish someone would cap IDS the idiot.

    Report this comment

    clowe

    Friday, August 8, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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