Spending freeze to cut extra £4bn from benefits as raft of new benefit cuts kick in : INDEPENDENT

The figures come as Theresa May puts into force a raft of new austerity measures this week, hitting thousands of the most disadvantaged people across the country, including parents, widows, the disabled and young people.

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The Government appears to have underestimated the severity  of its four-year freeze on working-age benefits, with the cap set to hit claimants by almost 50 per cent more than official estimates, according to exclusive new analysis.

The research from the House of Commons Library shows that, due to rising inflation, the measure introduced last year is now expected to reduce support by £13bn over the next four years, compared with the recent official Government forecast, of £9bn.

The figures come as Theresa May puts into force a raft of new austerity measures this week, hitting thousands of the most disadvantaged people across the country, including parents, widows, the disabled and young people.

The four-year freeze on working-age benefits, which includes the main rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance and Housing Benefit, as well as Child Benefit and other working tax credits, came in last April and was expected to affect 11 million families across the UK.

Labour, who conducted the analysis, are now calling for the Government to urgently review the policy, saying it risks pushing people into poverty.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “With higher than expected inflation, this is now a cut that runs four billion pounds deeper than the Tories intended.

“As a result, the living standards of millions of families who rely on tax credits, child benefit or other forms of social security will be put under even greater pressure.”

READ MORE : INDEPENDENT

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