The government’s £26,000 benefit cap is one of the most popular policies pollsters have ever come across. No wonder, then, that CCHQ is putting this infographic about to underline the political power of this emblematic policy as it is rolled out nationwide today.
Of course, it’s not entirely true that Labour supports limitless benefits, as the party is considering some kind of regional benefit cap, with more money paid to recipients in London to reflect the higher cost of living. But Liam Byrne and Ed Miliband’s decision to lead the party into voting against the cap in the end makes it very easy for the Conservatives to slap Labour with the ‘limitless’ tag.
The polling success of the cap means the Conservative party is more likely to go into the next election promising an even lower cap. Chris Skidmore suggested in an interview with Coffee House last autumn that it should be around £15,000 – £17,000. This would form one of the spending cuts George Osborne will be promising after confirming last week that he plans to plug the post-2015 black hole with cuts not tax rises. Others could include the 40 group’s suggested restrictions on benefits for teenage mothers (although the savings from this group would likely be rather small and more of a statement cut than anything else) and scrapping housing benefits for under-25s. Expect to see many more infographics as the Conservatives dream up other emblematic cuts.