Britain\’s leading independent tax experts today flatly rejected the coalition government\’s claims to have shielded poor families from five years of austerity when they described George Osborne\’s emergency budget as \”clearly regressive\”.
In a direct challenge to Treasury claims that the package of spending cuts and tax increases announced in June was fair, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said welfare cuts meant working families on the lowest incomes – particularly those with children – were the biggest losers.
I\’m really not sure why this is even being argued about.
The great gusher of money that Labour sprayed around the place went largely to pensioners and low income families with children. In reversing that gusher (for the clear and obvious reason that we cannot afford it) it will, obviously enough, be pensioners and low income families with children that lose out from the current arrangements.
I don\’t really see any problem with that logic.
Now, of course, you can go on to say that pensioners and low income families with children shouldn\’t lose out but that in itself would be to accept the New Labour settlement as being settled. That the size of the State, the size and amount of redistribution that was enacted over the past 13 years should now be set in stone and stay forever.
Something which is, as you might note, not something which the Coalition actually accepts as a premise.
Another way of putting this. New Labour tried a particular move towards a more redistributive tax and benefits system. Some groups gained from this. The new government thinks that that particular move wasn\’t a good idea. They are thus reversing it: therefore, of course those who gained initially are now going to lose out as the reversal takes place.
No Parliament may bind its successor remember and we do seem to have voted in a government which doesn\’t accept the ratchet to a more social democratic permanent state.
So, err, OK, the poor and the old are going to lose what they gained under the last government. And?