Of course, what the hon. Gentleman does not mention is that before the Budget the Joseph Rowntree Foundation was calling for the work allowances to be fully restored to pre-2015 levels, so I shall take what the hon. Gentleman has to say with a pinch of salt.
That cut of £2,400 a year is before we look at the cuts in other areas of universal credit that will swallow up any gains made from the Chancellor’s announcements on Monday. According to the House of Commons Library, the benefit freeze is going to cost low-income families just short of £5 billion next year alone. That one-year cut via the benefit freeze is worth more than the entire work allowance investment announced by the Chancellor for the next four years, which will be worth £3.8 billion. It is your typical Tory giving half with one hand and taking back double with the other. It is not an end to austerity; it continues to ingrain austerity. Little wonder, then, that the Government’s own expert adviser on social security, Sir Ian Diamond, has said that the next phase in the universal credit roll-out could push thousands into hardship or even out of the benefits system altogether. For shame!