Chancellor ‘in parallel universe’ says Miliband

FEARS ... David Miliband has criticised Chancellor George Osborne, inset.
FEARS ... David Miliband has criticised Chancellor George Osborne, inset.

SOUTH Shields MP David Miliband has criticised Chancellor George Osborne over his autumn statement and accused him of “living in a parallel universe”.

Last week, Mr Osborne said some benefits payments would have a one per cent cap on increases over the next three years with the aim of raising £3.7bn for the ecomomy by 2016.

George Osborne

George Osborne

He added that it was a fair way of handling welfare, and said “for the first time the average family out of work will not get more than the average family in work”.

However, Mr Miliband claims the cap is a departure from the budget in March in which the coalition vowed to take money from the City and “put it on the kitchen tables of hard-working families”.

Former foreign secretary, Mr Miliband, said: “I think George Osborne is living in a parallel universe.

“People up and down the country are seeing a Britain where the economic growth has not just faltered but ground to a halt.

“People are working harder for longer, and for less, and young people cannot get the jobs they aspire to.

“I think it is time for some serious answers from the Government.”

Under the plans announced by Mr Osborne, the one per cent cap will apply to jobseekers’ allowance, employment and support allowance, and income support.

Child benefit, which is currently frozen, will increase by one per cent for two years from April 2014.

Local housing allowances, which feed into housing support, will stay the same next year, but will be capped at one per cent for the next two years.

Mr Miliband added: “This is a vibrant, entrepeneurial economy, but not one that is growing.”

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