This was my MPs response regarding my email to her regarding the freezing of benefits rise to one per cent, bearing in mind I have communicated with her on many matters regarding my concerns over welfare reform particularly in relation to people with disabilities:
Thank you for taking the time to email me with regard to the government’s decision to only increase certain benefits by 1 per cent as part of the Welfare Up-Rating Bill. I realise that there is little I can say that will be of reassurance. The following seeks to explain the reasons for this difficult decision.
I do understand that this cap will make life more difficult for many people already on low incomes. However the fact is that since 2007, out of work benefits have increased by 20 per cent, while average earnings have only risen by 10 per cent. In other words over this time period, those on out of work benefits have seen their incomes rise twice as fast as many of those in work.
It is important to ensure that our welfare system is seen to be fair but also to make sure that work always pays more. The other measures taken to boost incomes for working families include the biggest ever increase to the personal allowance, help with fuel costs and freezing council tax bills for the third year running.
It is estimated that the average working household is £125 better off as a result of announcements made in the Autumn Statement including the uprating decisions.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
To which I have replied:
Thank you for your letter 25th January in reply to our email expressing our dismay with the benefits cap of 1 %.
You state that 'it is important to ensure that our welfare system is seen to be fair but also to make sure that work always pays more.' But it is grossly unfair and people aren't believing that mantra any more.
Further more you state "the fact is that since 2007, out of work benefits have increased by 20 per cent, while average earnings have only risen by 10 per cent. In other words over this time period, those on out of work benefits have seen their incomes rise twice as fast as many of those in work."
It is meaningless talking in percentages when we are talking 20 per cent of £71. I can't express it any better than Michael Meacher did in his blog of 10th January in which he completely demolishes that argument and demonstrates that percentages are meaningless compared to absolute values... (blog copied and pasted for MPs benefit).
I wish I'd also mentioned that disability benefits were supposed to be protected from this cap. I also wish I'd asked her to take a one per cent freeze in her salary in the name of fairness - but of course, when it comes to fairness, they are immune, aren't they, MPs? A law unto themselves.