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Welfare bill soars as coalition counts cost of austerity drive | Politics | The Guardian

Rising unemployment will cost the government £1.5bn more than expected in welfare benefits, according to official forecasts that reveal the hidden cost of the coalition's austerity drive.

As big increases in VAT are due to bite from Tuesday, analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility shows slowing economic growth will make it harder to reduce the deficit by forcing more people to seek state support.

The Treasury watchdog calculates the government will have to pay out £700m more in unemployment benefit than previously forecast. Similarly, a higher number claiming jobseeker's allowance as well as falling into lower wage brackets will see the government needing to pay out another £700m more in housing assistance over the next four years.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jan 2nd, 2011 at 06:11:42 PM EST
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