Hammond could and should have ended his crippling freeze on benefits

Of course Brexit creates uncertainties. But the chancellor has funds available now to fulfil the pledge to end austerity

Low-income families will be hit hard in April by government spending cuts and tax rises. Philip Hammond might have considered the double whammy that awaits them when he stood up last week to deliver his spring statement. There was an expectation, especially among some anti-poverty charities, that the chancellor would open his wallet to ease their financial pain following his promise last year to end austerity.

Families in the bottom fifth of earners will lose, on average, £400 a year from a freeze on benefits. Universal credit will be cut for all but the lowest-income households, and council tax bills, which affect the poorest much more than those in higher income brackets, are set to rise by an average of 4.5%.

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Read the original at Economics | The Guardian.