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Ed Balls says Labour will oppose the Welfare Uprating Bill

11 December 2012

Ed Balls gave the clearest indication yet today that his party would vote against the government’s plans to cap benefit rises to 1 per cent rather than in line with inflation. Speaking at Treasury Questions, the Shadow Chancellor said:

‘It’s important for members on both sides of the House know the answers to the questions I asked the Chancellor. First of all, 60 per cent of families hit by his tax and benefit changes are in work. And according to the IFS, as a result of the Autumn Statement measures, a working family, the average one earner couple will be £534 a year worse off by 2015, a working family worse off. These are Mr Speaker, the very families who pull the blinds and go to work Mr Speaker, and on average every Tory constituency has over 6,00 of these families who will lose out.

‘On the question he asked, we will look at the legislation. But if he intends to go ahead with such an unfair hit on mid- and lower-income working families, while he’s giving a £3 billion top rate tax cut, we will oppose it Mr Speaker. Let me ask him, why is he making striving working families pay the price for his economic failure?’

The Chancellor later said Labour would have to explain ‘to the hard working people’ in the country why ‘Labour would have a higher benefits bill’ as a result of the party’s decision to vote against the Welfare Uprating Bill. The point that George Osborne can also make repeatedly is that while the benefits payments for working families will now only rise by 1 per cent rather than in line with inflation, this is the same for wages as well.

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  • Anita Bellows

    All what the government is arguing about, is about people getting 71 pounds per week in benefits to get the same amount of money for the next 3 years. 71 pounds to buy your food, pay for your heating, your clothes, etc, whatever is the rate of inflation. Not sure whether any of you has ever tried or would be willing to try to live on this amount of money, but that what this government is condemning unemployed people to do.
    Like it would convinced them to find a job which did not exist.

  • dorothy wilson

    Balls is arguing that reducing the top rate of tax by 5% from 50% to 45% is giving a £3billion cut to high earners. However, for most of the time Labour was in office the top rate was 5% lower still at 40%. Surely then if the 45% rate gifts high earners £3 billion , the 40% rate gifted them £6 billion. And as that was the case for almost 13 years Labour gifted some of the richest people in the country a total of 78 billion.

  • HooksLaw

    The whole point of the 1% benefits limit is that it does affect those who also work. The govt is limiting the pay rises of its own employees to 1%.

    It is therefore right and fair that it limits benefits payments to those who also work to 1%.

    Why should the govt give a bigger benefit increase to those who work than to its own employees?

  • Troika21

    I wonder if it occurs to the Chancellor (and others) that conservatives can be unemployed too? He really should take a hint from Mitt Romney’s clumsy remarks, namely;

    A) Just because someone is on benefits, does not mean they want to be on benefits,
    B) does not mean that they want to stay there,
    C) does not mean they even like needing to live of them.

    Frankly, Labours attack/defence over this issue has been pathetic; what they should have said that “reducing the welfare bill will happen when strong growth returns to the UK economy, and people can ‘get on'”.
    Just when is that going to happen, George?

    • HooksLaw

      Under Labour when we had growth the numbers parked on benefits went up.

      • Troika21

        ‘Growth up, benefits up’ or ‘growth down, benefits down’.

        Hardly a pleasant choice to make.

        And actually JSA (which is what I was thinking of when I wrote the comment, but I accept that there are many, many other benefits) went down over most of Labours years in office, then shot right up because of the financial collapse.

        I know first hand that there are people who believe that JSA and other benefits are a ‘lifestyle’ but there are also a lot of other people (i.e. me) who hate that they cannot find work and hate needing to claim JSA.

        Osborne does not seem to have clocked that benefits recipients are not automatic Labour voters.

  • Colonel Mustard

    If you are so keen on supporting the working family, Balls, why did you and Gordon Brown abolish the 10p tax rate, doubling the income tax liability of the lowest paid workers in the UK? None of your re-invented guff, you have questions to answer and apologies to make. The Coalition Government need take no lessons from you on supporting working families.

  • lee taylor

    As I pointed out the other day even if that 60% figure Labour keep banding around is correct it still only amounts to 12% of the total workforce so Labour need to explain to the remaining 88% of those in work who don’t claim a penny in benefits why they think those on benefits should get a bigger pay increase than them.

    • The Crunge

      That would involve Ed balls telling the truth so good luck with that as I cannot imagine him breaking the habit of a despicable lifetime.

    • Shakira

      families all get child benefit so the idea that 88% of the workforce don’t “claim a penny in benefits” is untrue. Even Cabinet members have benefited from Child Benefit and David Cameron, a multi-millionaire also claimed DLA .

  • Justathought

    So the Specie has no-comment on the census results today?

  • Chris lancashire

    Mr Balls has yet to explain, in relation to his “top rate tax cut”, why, if it was such a good idea, did it take Labour 12 years to introduce this top rate. Or, put another way, 6 months before their ejection from office. Balls remains the most unprincipalled politician around today.

    • George_Arseborne

      Chris your last sentence on the contrary is a typical description of George Osborne. Labour are for the hard working family while Osborne is cutting taxes for millionaire and allowing bankers who cause this mess to go free. I am a striver who is constantly being punished by this lots. There is no difference between Cameron and Osborne and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

      • No, No, ******* No

        It’s 45% in Australia, China, Germany, Greece… lower in Italy, Ireland, the States… Why do you think it so terrible? Can we not try to compete as an economy too?

      • Chris lancashire

        Labour are for the “hard working family” are they? Is that why Brown & Balls scrapped the 10p tax rate? Or consistently failed to raise the amount “hard working families” could earn tax free by anywhere near inflation? And if you are a striver you are not being punished by this lots(sic). The Coalition has raised your tax free allowance wat beyond what it was – although, true, they are beginning to rein in daft Gordon’s byzantine tax credits.
        Carry on trotting out the rubbish about bankers and cutting taxes for millionaires the facts don’t support it but some people will believe the lie. And in relation to your last point, if Balls can’t explain why he only introduced the 50p tax rate after 12 long miserable years perhaps you can.

  • Jebediah

    All Labour care about is their client state, sod the actual workers.

    • telemachus

      The whole point is that Ed wants to help the low paid workers and their families

      At Treasury Questions just now he said

      “If he [George Osborne] intends to go ahead with such an unfair hit on mid-and lower-income working families, while he’s giving a £3bn top rate tax cut, we will oppose it, Mr Speaker,”

      This is the point
      Osbourne screws those working for a crust at the very bottom while lining the pockets of his mates

      • Colonel Mustard

        Gordon Brown and Ed Balls screwed those working for a crust at the very bottom by abolishing the 10p tax rate and doubling the tax liability of the lowest paid workers – an inconvenient fact you choose to omit. The Coalition needs no lessons on the low paid from the duplicitous, dissembling Reichsfuhrer Balls who has questions to answer and apologies to make.

        • The Crunge

          Telemachus, rather like the bodily fluctions, is disgusting but inevitable. He will never pen a word of sense, truth or interest so please just ignore him. Ed Balls is a disgusting and thoroughly dishonest individual but you are wasting your time trying to persuade this uneducated imbecile to the contrary.

          • George_Arseborne

            You just make yourself look like an imbecile as your comment does not carry any sense. Luv ya Telemachus, you are the most talented commentator on this forum, that is why trollers like Crunge who is weak in terms of idea will label you uneducated and imbecile.

          • romanlee

            George_Arseborne is telemachus, the voices in the head driving it mad are getting louder and more insane.

            • telemachus

              there is only one telemachus
              there are many Nicholas’s

      • Jebediah

        Are you stalking Ed Balls… or maybe you are Ed Balls.

        • Colonel Mustard

          No, he stalks whichever comment is first with the highest up arrows so that his slogan will remain near the top of the thread. Just like the Labour Party it is all about positioning and the message rather than the substance.

          • telemachus

            Not true Nico if you analyse
            Besides I have an important message
            Read and Learn

            • Sarge

              A lesson you do not follow yourself. Ah socialism, do as I say not as I do.

              • telemachus

                All socialism is is a society that cares

                • Mr Frost

                  No. All socialism does is confuses ‘state’ and ‘society’ to the point where people stop helping each other (society) and start looking for the Govt. to solve their problems. Socialism is socially divisive.

      • HooksLaw

        There have been several other taxes affecting the higher paid. Labours higher rate increase cost the exchequer money thus increasing the burden on the poorer.

        • telemachus

          I have never believed your last argument
          The notion is self evident however that you cannot have the bottom half of society envying the tax breaks of the rich

      • Andy

        That’s right: you increase benefits using yet more borrowed money. Ed Balls ought to be hanged for the damage he did to the UK economy, damage you will never live to see repaired.

        • telemachus

          Such methods have not done the US much harm

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