Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cut the cuts

Given his merciless assault on the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, it's nice to see Bonfire Night effigy du jour George Osborne getting a taste of his own medicine. The chancellor is currently under attack from all sides for his proposed cuts to tax credits.

The cross-party Work and Pensions Committee has warned that the cuts should be postponed and reconsidered in light of their likely impact: "by 2020-21, 78% of families will be on average £1,500 worse off in real terms", with supposedly compensatory measures like the National Living Wage failing to balance things out. That much shouldn't come as a surprise, but the statistics are nevertheless damning - as is the committee's description of the Treasury as "unacceptably evasive" as regards outlining the probable consequences of the cuts. It's almost as if Osborne and chums are ideologically motivated and don't give a toss about those whose lives they damage.

Meanwhile, both Gordon Brown and (slightly more unexpectedly) John Major have laid into Osborne for plans that will worsen a domestic poverty crisis. Major has branded the current level of inequality in Britain "shocking" and pointed out the connection between poverty and life expectancy. Coming from a Tory (albeit a moderate one), this is all the more damning - though you do have to wonder why Major and fellow Tory opponents of the tax credit cuts such as Heidi Allen of the Work and Pensions Committee are Tories at all if they feel that way.

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