However, Labour councillors and MPs are warning that the benefit cap will hit some of the poorest working families, not just those who choose to remain on benefits.
Earlier this month, George Osborne announced that increases in benefit payments would be capped below the rate of inflation for the next three years, saying that he would make sure the welfare system is “fair to the working people who pay for it”, and not just those “living a life on benefits”.
Iain Duncan Smith said:
Labour has been totally irresponsible. They play games and oppose every single measure to bring the benefits bill down. They even oppose universal credit, something they should applaud.
Labour negate this by saying 60% of those affected by the benefits squeeze are in work, and the majority of claimants have full time jobs and rely on tax credits to top up lower paid wages to an affordable level.
Stephen Timms, the shadow employment minister, said:
We’ve supported that 1% cap but what we’ve said is that it should be done in a fair way so that those who are the highest paid get less than a 1% increase, those who are lower-paid get more than a 1% increase.
Labour MP for a London Borough, Rushanara Ali, said:
George Osborne’s announcement in the autumn statement is another painful blow for residents in Tower Hamlets.
There is nothing fair about making working families pay the price for this government’s economic failure.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of the disability charity Scope, said:
The ‘benefit scrounger’ rhetoric has gone too far. Some people need benefits. Get over it.
The vast majority of disabled people need support. They aren’t feckless, they aren’t workshy and they aren’t scroungers.
Benefits mean disabled people can do things everyone else takes for granted. This bill doesn’t protect disabled people. In fact, it cuts support for the many disabled people who are looking for work.