Hard Times: Austerity and Welfare Cuts

Our community reporter Spring Heeled Jack has written a series of short articles which we will share over the next few weeks.

Here is the latest installment of Hard Times.

Austerity, Austerity, Austerity

The coalition administration quickly realised the awful extent of the British economy, which would take several years to turn round.

Public spending and borrowing had gone completely out of control under the Labour government, who were using and borrowing money they didn’t have.

Immediate policy changes were put in place by the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.

This meant that public borrowing had to be controlled and managed far more effectively.

Spending controls across all government departments was imposed immediately, with the NHS funding ring fenced and untouched.

Welfare cuts

An initial massive cut in welfare benefits within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), was enacted to the extent of £22 billion.

This covered the main benefits of Incapacity Benefit, migrating to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and Disability Living Allowance (DLA), gradually moving to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Other benefit cuts focused on housing benefit, particularly for people living in two or three bedroom flats.

The new policy meant that Housing Benefit would be cut for anyone who lived in a two bedroom flat by 14% and for those renting a three or more bedroom house or flat by 25%.

Outrage in the Houses of Parliament

It was David Cameron and Nick Clegg who led the coalition administration from the 2010 election until May 2015.

During that 5 year period some of the most far reaching changes affected people on state benefits.

It was also George Osborne as Chancellor of the Exchequer who was then tasked to deal with the massive budget deficit and to put Britain’s finances in order.

Most of the government departments were affected then except for Health where spending would increase every year, but the Department for Works and Pensions was particularly targeted where swinging cuts took place.

It was Iain Duncan Smith who was the DWP minister responsible from May 2010 for overseeing the budget cuts implemented by the Chancellor would be met.

He was also assisted by Lord Freud whose task it was to slash state benefits for unemployed and disabled people

Article submitted by Spring Heeled Jack.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not the Digital Sentinel.

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