CAS has joined more than fifty other organisations, academics, and campaigners urging Chancellor George Osborne not to push people into poverty by reducing benefits paid to the poorest. In an open letter to the Chancellor printed in The Independent on Monday (3 December 2012), Mr Osborne, who will outline spending plans in his autumn statement on Wednesday, the organisations warn that penalising the poor at a time when food and utility prices are rising would be "a tragedy for millions and a travesty for the economy".
The letter, which is the subject of The Independent’s front page story of the same day, also states that the Chancellor “must protect the livelihoods of children in low-income families. The effects of rising child poverty are far-reaching and long-lasting for our economy. By limiting children's potential, poverty reduces the skills available to employers and harms economic growth. Child poverty is estimated to cost Britain at least £25bn a year in lost tax revenues and increased public service costs.”
Speaking at the weekend, the Chancellor said he planned to "tackle welfare bills” and said "We've already made £18bn of savings from the welfare bill … but we're determined to reform welfare, not just to cut bills, so that work always pays … and fundamentally that is about creating not just a fairer society, but a more competitive society. That is the Conservative approach to fairness, make the rich pay but also make sure you are tackling the welfare system, which is deeply unfair."