Tories pledge to cut rising welfare bills with NHS cash boost and disability benefits reform

8 June 2024, 22:31 | Updated: 8 June 2024, 22:35

Rishi Sunak has pledged a major shake-up of the welfare state as the Tories pledge to bring down Britain's benefits bill.
Rishi Sunak has pledged a major shake-up of the welfare state as the Tories pledge to bring down Britain's benefits bill. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Rishi Sunak has pledged a major shake-up of the welfare state as the Tories promise to bring down Britain's benefits bill.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The latest policy commitment from the Tories aims to save some £12 billion a year by the end of the next parliament.

The party says it will achieve this by ensuring more working age people currently claiming benefits have a job.

The Conservatives want to bring down the number of working age people out of work - which has spiked since the Covid pandemic.

Read More: Labour set to unveil plan to back small businesses

Experts believe that this rise was in part driven by those who have taken early retirement and people suffering from long-term health issues who are waiting for treatment on the NHS.

But the Conservative Party said the 40% increase in economically inactive people from two million to 2.8 million overall since the pandemic is unsustainable.

Rishi Sunak is planning a welfare shake-up if he wins the general election
Rishi Sunak is planning a welfare shake-up if he wins the general election. Picture: Alamy
The Job Centre Plus building in Stockton on Tees,England,UK
The party says it will achieve this by ensuring more working age people currently claiming benefits have a job. . Picture: Alamy

They have promised to bring this total down, claiming the cost of providing benefits for working age people with health conditions could rise as high as £90 billion by the end of the next parliament.

Among the steps the party would take to do this are several where the early stages have been floated by the Tories in government.

This includes a £700 million investment in NHS mental health treatment, to ensure 500,000 more people can access talking therapies to help with poor mental health.

A pledge to reform the disability benefits system and target it at those most in need is also part of the offer, as is a tightening of the criteria for work capability assessments.

Previously announced plans to pass on the responsibility for issuing sick notes from GPs to specialist work and health professionals are within the Tories' plans.

The Conservatives also promise to toughen benefit sanction rules, speed up the rollout of universal credit, and clamp down on benefit fraudsters.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, while speaking with new local resident Henry Jones, in North West London, while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture date: Friday June 7, 2024.
Labour criticised the "reheated pledges" from the Tories. Picture: Alamy

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Reforming welfare is a moral mission. Work is a source of dignity, purpose and hope and I want everyone to be able to overcome whatever barriers they might face to living independent, fulfilling lives.

"That's why we have announced a significant increase in mental health provision, as well as changes to ensure those who can work, do work."

Labour criticised the "reheated pledges" from the Tories.

A spokesperson for Sir Keir Starmer's party said: "This is the latest desperate announcement from Rishi Sunak, who has once again plucked numbers out of thin air in an attempt to disguise the fact that he has caused a spiralling benefits bill.

"These reheated pledges, old policies and vague promises will not get Britain healthy or benefits under control, and do nothing to solve the fact that £10 billion of taxpayers' money was lost to benefit fraud just last year.

"Labour has a plan to cut NHS waiting lists, get Britain back to work, make work pay and get the benefits bill down."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Coventry's Radford Road, where the schoolboy was killed

Schoolboy killed in hit and run as police urgently look for driver

Police rammed the cow

Shock as police ram escaped cow on the street, as officers say it 'was hurt while being moved to safety'

Exclusive
c

Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

Kate and the royals came out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flypast

Kate joins King Charles and other royals on Buckingham Palace balcony for RAF flypast after Trooping the Colour

Exclusive
Ben Habib has hit back at suggestions Nigel Farage could join the Conservative party

Reform deputy hits back at suggestion Nigel Farage could join Tories, after leader tells LBC he could lead merged party

Olympic rings on the Eiffel Tower in Paris

IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics

The ride got stuck upside down

Horrifying moment people get stuck upside down on theme park ride, as dozens have to be rescued

David Cameron and Nigel Farage

David Cameron says Nigel Farage is trying to destroy the Conservative Party through Reform UK

Kevin Campbell has died

Arsenal and Everton footballer Kevin Campbell dies aged 54

Kate, Charlotte, Louis, Charles and Camilla seen at the Trooping the Colour ceremony

Kate seen for first time in public since cancer diagnosis at Trooping the Colour, as King receives salute

Millwall's Matija Sarkic died

Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic dies aged 26, as club 'completely devastated'

Muslim pilgrims standing at the top of the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy

Muslim pilgrims converge at Mount Arafat for worship as Hajj reaches its peak

Bob Bell confronted the robber

'Hero' shop worker jumps in to grab gun-toting robber threatening colleague, as mother-in-law praises 'lovely boy'

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, arrives at Zurich airport in Switzerland

World leaders to meet at Swiss resort on possible Ukraine peace roadmap

Live
David Cameron has warned that Nigel Farage is trying to destroy the Conservative party

General Election LIVE: Cameron warns Farage is 'trying to destroy the Conservatives', as Labour tackles NHS

The coach of one of the boys said he was 'not a monster'

'He's not a monster - he just didn't have the right role models,' claims boxing coach of 12-year-old machete murderer