Leaked documents reveal potential cuts to disability benefits and carer’s allowance

31 March 2015

The BBC has reported on leaked documents which indicate how the Conservative Party might go about cutting the £12bn from the welfare budget, promised by George Osborne.

Following the Chancellor’s refusal to specify how and where these cuts would be made, the leaked documents have shed light on the nature of cuts under consideration by the Conservative Party. Conservative officials responded by commenting that the documents did not reflect party policy.

The details of the possible cuts include: a tax on Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance; as well as the restriction of Carer’s Allowance to those eligible for Universal Credit; and the restriction of child benefit to households with two children. These cuts were revealed alongside a host of other proposals which have lead disability advocates to respond with concern, commenting that this could constitute a ‘huge step backwards’.

The IFS have commented on the leaked documents, stating that the proposed cuts are ‘hardly surprising’ and ‘constitute a largely predictable list of the kind of policies that civil servants would be likely to put in front of ministers’ given the scale of cuts proposed by the Chancellor for 2017-18.

The IFS analysis stated that the proposal to abolish non-means-tested benefits could potentially protect lower-income claimants. However, the analysis goes on to say that: ‘This would leave more people relying on means-testing, with the accompanying increased potential for hassle, stigma, non-take-up and a weakening of incentives to work and save’.

In addition, The IFS stated that limiting child benefit to two children per family would have a greater impact on low-income families.

Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary stated that the public had a ‘right to know’ what welfare cuts the Conservative’s would put in place if they were to be in Government following May’s election.

However, Reeves’ approach to welfare policy has also come under scrutiny from disabled activists and advocates after she stated in an interview with the Guardian that Labour is ‘not the party of people on benefits’.