In his Evening Standard Blog today, Paul Waugh has published a leaked email sent by George Osborne to Conservative MPs. It seems that Osborne has finally accepted the opinion of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, who said in August that contrary to Osborne's claim of a "progressive budget", it was in fact "clearly very regressive".
Again, Osborne demonstrates that despite his claims that we are "all in this together", we are very clearly not. Unless of course he is only speaking to his rich chums or cabinet colleagues. The budget cuts were proven by IFS calculations to hit the poorest in society much harder than the rich. On 25th August, James Browne, senior research economist at the IFS told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that, as a result of the budget cuts:
"[the] poorest tenth of the population are losing more as a percentage of their income than the richest tenth".But George put his fingers in his ears, went "la la la" and pushed ahead anyway.
Yesterday the ill-conceived idea to cut child benefit was another example of Osborne's fag-packet calculations. On the face of it, it probably seemed a good idea; George may even have thought the left would welcome it.
The desperate attempt to appear 'More Red than Ed' was laughable, as he attempted to explain the cut during his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. Earnestly, George posed the question: How can we justify taxing the poor to pay benefits to the rich?
Of course, on face value this is a justified question and George would have been delighted when Kitty Ussher, Director of centre-left think tank Demos said:
Yet the logistics of the scheme to cut child benefit from higher-rate taxpayers are a joke. How can Osborne explain cutting child benefit from a single-income household bringing in £44k, yet maintain the payment to a joint income household where each partner brings in £43k? Absolute proof of the minuscule amount of thought that actually went into the scheme.
“It seems totally insane that people who are not scrabbling around to make ends meet should be getting the same as those who are finding it hard. If you are not living from hand to mouth, you shouldn't have it."
In his email today, George at least shows some of the message has finally got through, as he confesses to his Parliamentary Party:
"I made £11 billion of savings from other parts of the welfare system, many of which affected people on lower incomes"Unfortunately by the time the full impact of his actions is apparent, it will be way too late. Not for George of course, he will be comfortable with his multi-million pound trust fund, while the rest of us mourn our public services, weep for what is left of our NHS and many will rue the day they ever voted for either half of this ConDem coalition.