The government tried to sneak out this bad news 20 minutes after the Royal Wedding announcement
What good timing...
As we well know by now, when a Royal Wedding or baby is announced it dominates the entire news agenda for the whole day, plus many of the days and weeks after that.
You could be forgiven for thinking that nothing else of importance happened yesterday after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement - the story was rolling constantly on every news channel, and was all over most major websites.
Which made it the perfect time for the Tories to sneak out a bit of news which will negatively affect millions of the neediest people in the UK under the radar.
While the news had everyone focusing on the Royals - for many the symbol of huge wealth in the UK - the government announced that it would continue to freeze benefits for another year, while cost of living continues to rise.
The Mirror write that they received notification of this 21 minutes after the Royal Wedding announcement. You can make up your own mind as to how deliberate this was.
This freeze is not a new policy - it is a continuation of former Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge to freeze working-age benefits for four years from 2016/17.
Working-age benefits are benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance for those who are old enough to work, i.e. between the ages of 16 and pension age.
With food prices rising, the Tories have agreed to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap, and are also raising the state pension from by 3% from April next year.
However, by refusing to budge on the benefits freeze, they will be affecting millions of Britain’s poorest people, who will effectively be getting poorer as living becomes more expensive.
Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd told The Mirror: “The Tories seem to be shamelessly using the Royal engagement to bury bad news. Millions of hard-pressed families are set to be pushed over the edge into poverty by these cruel cuts.”
While Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “Once again the Prime Minister has failed to make good on her promise to help those struggling to get by.
“By continuing to freeze working-age benefits at a time when inflation is soaring, the Government is subjecting 10.5 million households to an average cut of £450 a year.”