PRIME minister Cameron yesterday revealed on the eve of the Tory Party conference that the government is planning to slash welfare by another £16 billion before the next election.
Particularly targeting young people, poor families and the unemployed, the plan is to cut housing benefits for the under-25s.
benefits for families with children who rely on state benefits.
Cameron told the Andrew Marr Show that the coalition has already capped welfare but ‘needs to go further’.
Marr put it to Cameron that deputy prime minister Clegg at the Liberal Democrats party conference said that whoever came into power in 2015 was going to have to introduce more cuts because of the size of the economic crisis
‘Is he right?’ asked Marr
Cameron replied: ‘Yes, he is right. And actually it happens before that because we have to find £16 billion of spending reductions by the year.
He warned that, ‘Fact is, we have to find those spending reductions and if we want to avoid cuts in things like hospitals and schools and the services that we all rely on, we have to look at things like the welfare budget where we’re still spending as a country £80 billion on working age welfare.’
He claimed: ‘That’s not the pensions, not the disability benefits, but working age welfare.’
Marr pressed him: ‘You need another squeeze on welfare and it needs to start before the General Election?’
Cameron said: ‘Of course. We are looking today at what we can do to make sure that welfare is actually helping people into work.’
He continued: ‘We’ve capped welfare but we need to go further. And let me just say this:
‘…I think it’s very important as we make these changes, that not only do we recognise if you don’t deal with things like pay and welfare and pensions, you always will have to cut department spending, and that hits health and education, the schools and the hospitals we rely on.’
The government has already brought in a range of restrictions to housing benefit, including caps to local housing allowance for private renters.
From April 2013, total household benefits will be capped at £26,000 per year and working age social housing tenants with spare rooms will have their housing benefit cut.
But Cameron ruled out Liberal Democrat plans for ‘mansion tax’ on high-value properties, saying ‘that is not going to happen’.