The government has been facing a number of roadblocks in its efforts to develop new plans for welfare reform. Recently, they have proposed measures to create a £26,000 cap on welfare benefits. Representatives announced that the child welfare benefits will not apply to this rule.
The conservative base has attempted to create substantial welfare reform and is responsible for the initiation of the welfare cap. However, those policies have been consistently attacked by liberals. As a result, the reforms are not expected to be nearly as strong as conservatives would have hoped. Nevertheless, they feel that the cap is still popular and will be widely supported by the political community when it is enacted.
Lords Kirkwood and Ashdown are two of the liberals who took a stand against the bill. This is the fifth time the government has met to discuss potential reforms, but the first time that Lord Ashdown voted against the coalition. Ashdown demanded to know what reasons any of the ministers could have for denying benefits to impoverished families receiving less than £26,000 a year, but not to wealthier citizens earning more than thrice that.
The government will be forced to continue discussing how they will institute child benefits. New data shows that a cap of £26,000 will affect over 300,000 citizens, more than two thirds of which are children. The new measures will save almost £120 million in a year. However, exempting child benefits from the cap will mean that 40,000 fewer households will be affected.
More than half of the households that will be affected will be in London and surrounding areas. Due to rising costs of living in those areas, families affected by the declining benefits are likely to have a much more difficult time. The costs of renting have already risen more in London than almost every other area of the country.
Nevertheless, other critics continue to raise concerns over the child benefits exemption. They argue that because people receiving benefits are exempt from paying taxes, those earning £26,000 in benefits are essentially earning the same income as someone earning £35,000 a year before taxes. Many politicians argue that it is an injustice that a substantial number of working families are unable to make those wages, while others are allowed to earn them through government benefits.
The House of Lords must officially vote on the measures before sending them to Commons for approval.