Jeremy Corbyn calls on Government to end benefits freeze following Labour election confusion

Posted On: 
25th August 2017

Jeremy Corbyn will today call on the Government to end the benefits freeze - despite failing to contain a similar pledge in Labour's election manifesto.

Jeremy Corbyn at the launch of the Labour manifesto in May.
PA Images

The party leader will also demand ministers reverse their plans to shut Job Centres across the country.

Labour's manifesto launch in May was overshadowed by confusion over the party's position on working-age benefits, which former Chancellor George Osborne froze until 2020.

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Mr Corbyn told journalists "clearly we’re not going to freeze benefits", before appearing to U-turn on that multi-billion pound pledge within a couple of hours.

He said instead that other welfare spending commitments, including £2bn earmarked to mitigate the impact of some cuts to Universal Credit, would ease the impact of the benefits freeze.

But speaking at a rally in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, the Labour leader will say that his party is now in favour of completely lifting the freeze.

"Labour will take a different approach to our social security system, which under the Tories is failing our pensioners, the working poor, and disabled people," he will say.

"We will lift the freeze on social security, using part of the billions we set aside for reform in our costed manifesto, by recycling social security savings made by introducing a real Living Wage of £10 an hour, and by building the affordable homes we need."

Mr Corbyn will also accuse the Government of "turning their backs on unemployed, sick and disabled people" with its Job Centre closure plans.

He will say: "In places where poverty is high and job opportunities low, closing down Job Centres is counter-productive.

"The Tories are planning to force a million more working people to attend a Job Centre, under its plans for in-work sanctions, while simultaneously closing one in every ten Job Centres across the country.

"“That is the twisted logic of this government’s chaotic austerity agenda. The closures make it absolutely clear that this government has no interest in helping people to find decent and secure work."