Towards the end of 2015, it took the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) less than a day to burst the Chancellor’s good news balloon.
As many headlines in 2015 concentrated on George Osborne’s climbdown over tax credit, the IFS pointed out that it changed nothing in the long-term because the cuts would still feature in the new credit system, which is due to replace tax credits by 2018, and millions of families will be affected.
Existing benefit claimants on Jobseeker’s Allowance will be protected in cash terms when moved on to Universal Credit, the IFS said.
However, 4.5 million working families will be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit, of which 2.6 million stand to lose an average of £1,600 a year.
IFS research economist Andrew Hood said welfare will be significantly less generous in the long-run because the Conservative government aims to shrink non-pension benefits to their smallest share of national income for 30 years.
He also pointed out that the cuts to work allowances announced in the summer budget would still be going ahead, hitting a similar group to those affected by the abandoned tax credit cuts.
Fiona Weir, chief executive of single parent pressure group Gingerbread, said both Gingerbread and campaigners up and down the country who have fought hard to overturn the planned cuts to tax credits should be pleased at the outcome.
However, this announcement only covers the first phase of tax credit cuts, due to kick-in in the new year.
Single parent families on Universal Credit will still suffer cuts to the support they receive if the planned reduction in the work allowance goes ahead.
So not much to look forward to as millions of families will still be worse off under this current government.
As a proud member of Unite, the workers’ union, I will keep fighting for fairness and workers’ rights in 2016 and beyond.
I am ready for the challenges that 2016 may bring. We need to stand tall, together, to overcome and win.