UK Government Confirmed Benefits Changes Just After Royal Engagement Announcement

When Kensington Palace officially announced the engagement between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Monday, the world went ballistic.

Ceremonial and commemorative mugs, plates, banners, masks and anything else that would fit the couple's faces went into production and monarchists were celebrating over the prospect of another royal wedding.

With everyone's eyes on Harry and his soon-to-be wife, the UK Government announced something that wasn't all smiles and rainbows.

A little more than 20 minutes after the engagement news, a press release was circulated confirming a policy that will freeze working-age benefits for four years.

While the move was revealed in the 2016/17 budget and was expected to be announced at some point, many are criticising the Government for the timing of the release.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Credit: PA

Sure, they might have had November 27 in their diaries for months as the day to announce the policy, but the timing is a bit suss. The Mirror says the confirmation of the freeze was also at the bottom of the written statement.

Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd has said: "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."

It's hoped the move will save nearly £4 billion by 2019/2020, however, that's expected to cost an average family £300 per year. Think Tank the Resolution Foundation reckon half of families with children, more than 800,000 looking for work, and 2.4 million disabled people will be affected by the changes.

Work and Pensions
Work and Pensions

The policy is the first time in decades that the UK government hasn't kept working-age benefits in line with inflation.

Inflation recently reached a five-year high of three percent. According to the Resolution Foundation, inflation in the UK is being driven by imported goods being more expensive following the referendum to leave the EU.

Foundation Director Torsten Bell told the Independent: "Families across Britain are struggling through a fresh living standards squeeze. Prices in the shops are once again rising faster than the pay packets they bring home.

"With inflation approaching three per cent, families are on course for the biggest real-terms cut in the value of their benefits for decades. A low-income working couple with two children could lose over £300 next year - a double blow given what is happening to wages."

Sources: Mirror, Independent

Featured Image Credit: PA

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.

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