David Cameron has set out plans to slash the cap on benefits by 12% to £23,000 and strip under-21s of housing benefits completely “within the first few days” of a Conservative victory in the general election.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister said that the £135 million saved by squeezing benefits claimants and £120 million saved by stripping under-21s of jobseekers allowance would be used to fund three million apprenticeships by 2020.
As with other Conservative austerity policies, the benefits of pensioners, who provide a large proportion of the Tory voting base, will be protected from the cuts.
Previously, both pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, and the Liberal Democrats have highlighted benefits received by those on middle incomes, such as universal access to winter fuel payments as a more appropriate target. However, Cameron believes that his commitment not to touch pensioner benefits before the last election means that he would suffer more electorally if he went back on that promise now than by forcing young people to live longer with their parents.