Your view: Benefit changes vote


21-year-old single mum Tasha Ereaut

An upper limit on benefits rises is only fair to people who work to pay their way, according to the government.

But poverty campaigners and Labour MPs call it a direct hit on the country's most vulnerable, including up to 7 million people who get support because they are in low-paid jobs.

A move to limit rises in welfare payouts by 1% per year for the next three years is being voted on in Parliament.

The government say it is both fair and necessary, to help get UK debt levels under control.

Coalition ministers also hope it will prove they are interested looking after "workers" while making Labour look more like they only care about "shirkers".

21 year old mechanic Dave agrees with the government's plans.

He said: "It's people like you and me that are paying for [people on Benefits]. They need to get up and do something about it."

"I'm no scrounger," says 21 year old Tasha Ereaut, also from Southampton.

"Come and talk to me personally. I'll tell you what I've been through and you might see it my way."

Tasha, a single mum, is expecting a second baby in April. She already struggles to make ends meet, and worries about how she'll cope when her income is further squeezed.

She says: "It's kind of worrying. How am I going to be able to deal with it?"

Until now benefits have gone up each year in line with the rise in the cost of living, in a process called 'uprating'.

Tuesday's vote in Parliament (8 January) will see rises in most 'working age' benefits capped at 1% per year for the next 3 years - much closer to the rate many workers' wages are going up.

Compared with the rise in the cost of living, it means most people will feel poorer.

In a letter yesterday to a national newspaper, an alliance of more than 50 charities, academics and unions called the move "a tragedy for millions".

Tasha adds that it's easy to "point the finger" at people on benefits.

She says: "We're not the reason the country's going belly up. I didn't ask for my partner to leave.

"We don't ask to be in this situation."