Conservatives attack Labour over latest pledge to lift benefits freeze

Posted On: 
25th August 2017

The Conservatives have accused Labour of making further unfunded spending promises after Jeremy Corbyn called on the Government end the freeze on working-age benefits. 

Jeremy Corbyn has taken his summer tour of marginal seats to Scotland this week
PA Images

There was confusion about Labour’s own policy on the cash-terms freeze during the election campaign, after 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.

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At a rally in Lanarkshire today, Mr Corbyn said Labour was 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 said.

“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.”

Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has hit back at Mr Corbyn today, claiming Labour had not set out where the funding for the policy would come from.

“Labour spent their whole election campaign promising the country things they simply couldn’t afford and they’re doing the same thing again,” the Conservative minister said.  

“Ending this freeze would cost a massive £12.9 billion and leave ordinary, hardworking people footing the bill. If Labour want people to put their hands in their pockets to pay for this they must set out where the money will come from. 

“It is clear that Labour’s sums simply don’t add up. Only the Conservatives have the plan to build a stronger economy so that we don’t burden future generations with our debt.”