Millions of people will have their benefits frozen for another year, the Tory government has confirmed.
The confirmation of the freeze was made yesterday – just minutes after the Royal engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was announced.
The policy – which could have major implications for thousands of struggling families across Merseyside – was well known and the plan was always to announce next year’s benefits rates today, but the timing of it alongside the big Royal announcement means that lots of people may have missed it.
Some have also pointed out the stark contrast between the two issues.
Today’s announcement re-confirms the policy of former Chancellor George Osborne to freeze working-age benefits for four years from 2016/17.
As food prices rise, the state pension is going up by 3% from April 2018 and the 1% pay rise cap in the public sector is set to be scrapped.
Yet despite this, Theresa May has stuck to the freeze on benefits in a bid to slash £3.9billion a year by 2019/20.
That means apart from pensions and carers’ allowance, the vast majority of benefits will be worth less as prices shoot up.
Just weeks ago inflation reached a five-year high of 3%, adding to the pressure on families.
Welfare minister Caroline Dinenage said benefits “linked to the additional cost of disability” would be exempt.
But the small print reveals this does not apply to thousands of people on sickness payment Employment and Support Allowance.