Well, with the exception of the SNP, all the party manifestos are out now. Will their offers to claimants make a difference to how you vote?
Two weeks ago we asked whether benefits policies would be enough to swing your vote in favour of any particular party.
We had a lot of responses, but at that time we had very little information on what parties were prepared to offer to claimants.
Now we’ve seen the manifestos, we’ve set out the basics below. But will they affect your choice? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Brexit party’s ‘contract’ was almost a benefits free zone. Though they did say:
Though they did say they would:
- Support those who have paid into the system with accelerated payment processes (five-week maximum), and continue to root out fraud.
- Undertake a 12-month review of the system and bring in reforms within two years
The Conservative manifesto contained very little about benefits, though it did include the dubious claim that “. . .we will continue our efforts through the tax and benefits system to reduce poverty, including child poverty.”
Other than that they say that:
- “. . . we will do more to make sure that Universal Credit works for the most vulnerable.”
- “We will also end the benefit freeze, while making sure it pays to work more hours.”
- “. . . we will reduce the number of reassessments a disabled person must go through when a significant change in condition is unlikely.”
- “We will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will look at ways to improve the benefits system, opportunities and access for disabled people in terms of housing, education, transport and jobs.”
The Green party say they would introduce a “Universal Basic Income (UBI), an unconditional financial payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs”
The adult rate of UBI would be £89 a week.
The pensioner rate would be £178 a week.
The manifesto also includes undertakings to:
- Replace Universal Credit and the cruel benefit sanctions regime.
- Increasing the Living Wage to £12 and extending it to workers aged between 16 and 21.
- Provide a supplement to UBI for people with disabilities. This will help restore the benefits withdrawn from disabled people over the past ten years, providing more financial security.
- Continue to pay a full Carers Allowance to carers, on top of the UBI payment
There’s no question that the Labour Party are offering the most to claimants, too much to include everything here.
Some of the highlights include:
- Stop moving claimants onto universal credit immediately, before scrapping it entirely once they have designed a new system.
- “stop the dehumanising Work Capability and PIP Assessments, which repeatedly and falsely find ill or disabled people fit to work, and make sure all assessments are done in-house.”
- “increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.”
- “increasing the Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.”
- “raise the basic rate of support for children with disabilities to the level of Child Tax Credits.”
- “ensure that severely disabled people without a formal carer receive extra support to enable them to meet the extra costs they inevitably face.”
- “scrapping the benefit cap and the two child limit”
- “scrapping the bedroom tax and increasing Local Housing Allowance”
The Lib Dems, like Labour, have gone out of their way to make a comprehensive offer to claimants.
The party says they aim to improve the benefits system by, amongst other things:
- Reversing the cuts to Employment Support Allowance for those in the work-related activity group.
- Ending Work Capability Assessments and replace them with a new system that is run by local authorities and based on real-world tests.
- Introducing an incentive-based scheme to replace the current sanctions system.
- Reducing the wait for the first payment from five weeks to five days.
- Tackling child poverty by removing the two-child limit and the benefits cap.
- Making work pay by increasing work allowances and introducing a second earner work allowance.
- Reforming Universal Credit to be more supportive of the self-employed.
- Increasing Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.
- Abolishing the bedroom tax and introduce positive incentives for people to downsize.
Plaid Cymru is another party that has given little thought to how to enthuse claimants.
There is almost nothing in their manifesto for claimants other than undertakings to:
- Introduce a new £35 a week payment for every child in low income families.
- Introduce a new tax credit of up to £25 a week to households paying over 30% of their income on private rent.
- Permanently remove the bedroom tax.