He won’t admit it, but the rebellious Lords have saved George Osborne’s bacon

At the risk of feeding the collective hysteria that characterises public perceptions (or prejudices) of welfare spending, benefit cuts have not yet been one of the main contributors to the coalition or Conservative governments’ austerity agenda.

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the Conservatives’ longstanding commitment to protect pensioner spending, which makes up over 40 per cent of the apparent welfare budget. Indeed, they are committed to spending far more on pensioners (other things being equal) through the operation of the ‘triple lock’ on the state pension.

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Image: Kjetil Ree