Friday, 22 December 2017

Unfair Kingdom

Labour and the Conservatives do not agree on much, but both go along with regressive changes to benefits policy, the very poorest people in our communities are going to see big cuts in their already meagre living standards. The changes to benefits policy are massively bad news for the 50%+ of families in our country who receive income from at least one state benefit. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), says that the Conservatives’ plans will reduce the net incomes of households in the bottom income decile by a tenth. The incomes of working-age families with children in the bottom decile could end up a full 15% lower - that's a big cut when you've next to nothing. Labour folk tell me they are offering a radical alternative, but let’s look at facts behind the hyperbole. The distributional impact of Labour’s tax-and-benefits policy is almost the same as the Conservatives. Labour has committed only £4.5bn saying cancelling the benefits freeze entirely is unaffordable, yet Labour has pledged about £10bn to remove university-tuition fees, a policy that heavily benefits the better-off. Now it’s not a fashionable or a vote winning thing to put families on benefits over students – it is however the right thing to do.

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