Crucial statistics on the effects of the governments welfare reforms will be deliberately delayed until after the election, to prevent academics and campaigners discovering the effects of policies such as the bedroom tax, changes to disability living allowance and employment and support allowance and increased sanctions.
The Households Below Average Income figures will be two and a half years out of date by the time of the election.
Complaints about the delay in publication were made to Iain Duncan Smith as long ago as last September, but with no effect. IDS has also continued to refuse to meet with the Trussell Trust to discuss food poverty.
Dawn Foster, writing in the Guardian argues that:
“Academic annoyances aside, the impact of this delay on the political debate around welfare in the election is huge. Cuts to welfare provision have been a flagship policy of the coalition government, and the belief that the answer to unemployment and poverty is to cut off financial support looks to be a mainstay of the Conservatives’ campaign until 7 May. But the official statistics all parties rely on to make their arguments will be two-and-a-half-years out of date, and completely useless as a measure of how the coalition’s welfare changes have affected poverty rates. The raft of changes that heralded the start of the 2013 financial year are hidden from official statistics until votes have been cast.”
Source – Benefits & Work, 18 Feb 2015