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Working-age Social Security Benefits: Four-year Freeze

Volume 673: debated on Monday 9 March 2020

16. What assessment her Department has made of the effect of the four-year freeze in working-age social security benefits on levels of poverty. (901396)

The benefit freeze will end next month, and working age benefits will rise with inflation. We will spend an additional £1 billion on working age benefits in 2020-21.

A 1.7% increase in working age benefits does not make up for the damage caused by the four-year freeze: affected benefits and tax credits will be about 6% lower in 2020-21. If austerity was really over, the UK Government would be making up the shortfall. Has the Secretary of State asked the Treasury to make up that shortfall?

As I have just said, the Government have already announced that working age benefits will rise in line with inflation next month. As the hon. Lady will know, the Secretary of State has a statutory obligation each autumn to conduct a review of pension and benefit rates for the following year. This review will begin in October for implementation in the following April.