The Tories will never live through this shameful £ 20 universal credit seizure, writes Gordon Brown, and nothing they say can undo the damage caused by more ill-dressed and starving children going to school and that more families have to choose between heating and eating.
Over the past 50 years, Conservative governments have routinely frozen child benefits and worsened the plight of millions of families.
Conservative ministers have regularly introduced so-called “reforms” like universal credit that have further impoverished already poor families.
But never since the introduction of the welfare state have six million families suffered an overnight cash cut of £ 20 a week.
For more than two million singles, that’s a sudden 20% drop in income.
For millions more families facing high winter expenses on food, gas and electricity, this represents a reduction of 10%.
Their bills go up but their income goes down.
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A Standard Life Foundation report says nearly six million families are struggling to put food on the table and another 500,000 people have fallen into poverty.
Nothing these ministers do in public life will shame them more than kick millions of families when they are down.
Nothing they say can undo the damage caused by more poorly dressed and starving school children, more families having to choose between heating and eating and the inevitable increase in payday lenders, loan sharks and threats of violence against those who cannot repay.
And nothing will offset the inevitable increase in children in care, evicted tenants and mental health referrals as families are pushed to their limits.
Because this latest reduction comes on top of ten years of austerity and reduced benefits which, for the average family, has already translated into a reduction of £ 1,750 per year since 2010.
The Minister for Work and Pensions says £ 20 can easily be recouped by working two extra hours a week. But the more you earn, the more your benefits are reduced.
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You can take home as little as £ 2.16 for each additional hour – so you have to work eight or nine hours more.
Britain cannot move forward if the six million families who can least afford it are hit so hard.
No conservative will ever be able to pretend that we are all in the same boat again.