North east is hit hardest of all in welfare cuts

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It should surprise no one that the Tory blitz on benefits has hit the north east hardest of all.

David Cameron and his cronies are using cuts up here to feather-bed Conservative-held areas in the south.

And the axing of the emergency welfare fund will add to the misery of local families caught in poverty.

The National Audit Office (NAO) publication revealed the average reduction in welfare benefits per year between 2010 and 2015 is £551 for each working-age adult in our region, higher than elsewhere in the UK, and compared to £358 in the south east.

We also have the highest level of unemployment and the lowest average wage in the UK.

The NAO also revealed that cuts to emergency help for people in desperate need of food or basic household goods could make them ill.

Even if you accept the cruelty behind such cuts, they make no economic sense.

The state may save cash from benefits cuts, but risks having to spend much more on taxpayer-funded healthcare.

Families in direst need were previously eligible for support provided by local councils using money from a central government Social Fund. No longer.

The result will be colder and hungry families as local councils have to decide whether to provide emergency funding from their own dwindling budgets, or turn a blind eye to misery.

Another Tory trick.