Sunday 2 December 2012 10:21 pm

Benefit freeze expected in new drive to save taxpayer money

GEORGE Osborne yesterday argued it is not fair that hard pressed working families struggle under squeezed incomes and high inflation while their neighbours on benefits are well paid for staying at home. Raising the prospect of a new freeze or even a round of benefit cuts in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, the chancellor told the Andrew Marr Show that people at all ends of the income spectrum must do their bit to reduce the budget deficit. “We are going to tackle welfare bills,” he said yesterday. “That is the Conservative approach to fairness – to make the rich pay, but also make sure you are tackling the welfare system which is deeply unfair to working people.” The chancellor said he wants to ensure “it is always better for someone to work that extra hour, to get that job” than it is to remain on benefits. His programme since becoming chancellor in 2010 has already seen £18bn saved from the welfare budget, but high inflation has slowed his plans as many benefits are linked to price rises.