Government is blaming the jobless for unemployment instead of tackling it

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date: 17 February 2011

embargo: for immediate release

Commenting on the Welfare Reform Bill published today (Thursday), TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'Long-term unemployment has doubled not because of a sudden increase in work-shy scroungers, but as an inevitable result of economic policies based on cuts that destroy growth.

'Of course no welfare support is perfect and a small minority play the system, but just as conjurors divert your attention when doing a trick, today's proposals are based on blaming the jobless for their own unemployment in the hope that voters won't notice the real cause.

'Making low-income working families thousands of pounds worse off through welfare cuts over the next two years to claim that they will be slightly better off in 2013 is an absurd argument that will ring hollow as families suffer the toughest income squeeze for nearly a century.

'We strongly welcome the u-turn on cutting housing benefit for the long-term unemployed and support moves to reduce marginal tax rates for those moving into work.

'But drastic welfare cuts and cut-price jobs support will fail to stem the rising tide of unemployment that this government is now responsible for.

'If people want someone to blame for being out of work they should look at the government ministers cutting back services and making hundreds of thousands of people redundant.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- A recent TUC analysis found that working families could lose over £2,700 a year due to welfare cuts due to start this year:

Total annual financial losses from welfare cuts for households with two parents in employment, working 35 hours a week, each on the minimum wage

Reduction in childcare costs met by tax credits (from April 2011)

£1,560

Child benefit freeze (three years from April 2011)

£201

Freeze in the value of the basic element of working tax credit (three years from 2011)

£135

Switching from RPI to CPI uprating of the couple element of working tax credit (from April 2011)

£40

Freeze in the value of the 30 hour element of working tax credit (three years from April 2011)

£60

Abolition of the baby element of child tax credit (from April 2011)

£545

Abolition of the toddler element of child tax credit (from April 2012)

£220

Abolition of the Child trust fund (from January 2011)

£250

Above inflation increase in the child element of child tax credit (in April 2011 and April 2012)

-£255

Total loss

£2,756

- The TUC has calculated how welfare cuts will affect a household with two adults and two children, where both parents work full-time and earn the minimum wage. The TUC has compared the support that would be available for parents in these circumstances under the current system by 2013/14 and after the government's welfare changes and calculated the difference. The full calculations can be found at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/welfarelossesby2013.xls

- Further analysis of the Welfare Reform Bill can be found at www.touchstoneblog.org.uk

- The Welfare Reform Bill is available at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmbills/154/11154.pdf

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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