Welfare benefit and tax credit measures in the General Election 2015 Party Manifestos20 April 2015
Rightsnet has published a comprehensive summary of benefit and tax credit measures proposed by eight of the parties battling it out in the upcoming General Election. The summary of Manifesto pledges from the Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and the Greens can be found here.
Key pledges from the Tories and Labour include:
- £12bn in welfare savings on top of the £21bn delivered in this parliament;
- universal credit to be delivered to ‘provide the right incentives for people to work;
- a reduction in the household benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000;
- working age benefits to be frozen for two years from April 2016, with some exemptions;
- an overall welfare cap limiting the amount that government can spend on certain social security benefits in the five years from 2015/2016;
- jobseeker’s allowance for 18-21 year-olds to be replaced with a ‘youth allowance’ that will be time-limited to six months, after which young people will have to take an apprenticeship, a traineeship or do daily community work for their benefits
- ending automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18-21 year-olds on jobseeker’s allowance.
- a guaranteed, paid job for all young people who have been out of work for one year – and for all those over 25 years old and out of work for two years – which they have to take or lose their benefits;
- commissioning a replacement for the Work Programme at a more local level;
- universal credit to be paused, and reviewed to see if it is ‘affordable and fit for purpose’;
- abolition of the bedroom tax;
- no cuts to tax credits;
- retention of the household benefit cap, with the Social Security Advisory Committee to be asked to examine if it should be lower in some areas;
- a cap on structural social security spending as part of each spending review;
- a higher rate of JSA for those who have contributed ‘over years’, to be funded by extending the length of time people need to have worked to qualify;
- reforming the WCA to focus it on the support disabled people need to get into work, with an independent scrutiny group of disabled people given a central role in monitoring it.