Even if all the benefits cuts leaked to the BBC last week were implemented, they would still not be deep enough to meet Conservative targets and more would need to be made. The scale of the cuts needed was revealed in a detailed analysis released on Friday by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).
Last week the BBC gave details of emails which showed that, in order to cut 12 billion from the benefits budget, the Conservatives are considering measures including:
Taxing disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance (AA).
Abolishing contribution based ESA and JSA entirely, so that only claimants who pass a means test can claim these benefits.
Cutting the number of people getting carer’s allowance by 40%.
Limiting child benefit to the first two children.
Other plans include replacing industrial injuries benefits with an insurance policy for employers, regional benefit caps and changes to council tax.
However, according to the IFS:
“If all of these were implemented, the total saving would be likely to fall well short of the missing £10 billion per year that the Conservatives intend to find by 2017–18”
This is particularly the case because some savings, such as to child benefit “would be unlikely to be fully realised for some years”.
The Conservatives have claimed that none of the leaked cuts are party policy, but the IFS believes it’s time for the party to come clean about what it does intend to do, saying:
“These may well not be the decisions that a future Conservative government would make. But it is likely they would have to make changes at least as radical as this to find £12 billion a year. We should be told what those changes would be.”
You can read the full IFS statement here.