Budget Day Response Briefing
Amongst the gimmicks and giveaways, the Chancellor has hidden four more years of pain, austerity, and cuts.
The Tories used to say we were in it together, but this budget says - you’re on your own.
When today’s budget fireworks fizzle out, thousands of public sector workers, families and young people face another four years struggling to get by.
If life is comfortable, if you have cash in the bank, if you have savings, or if you’re big business - today was a good day.
But if you’re starting out in life, struggling to support your family, struggling to get ahead, unable to work, today things got a lot tougher.
The safety net is being torn apart.
People who are sick and disabled, people struggling to get into work, young families, students, children from poorer families, and people who find themselves out of work through no fault of their own, are all going to find life more difficult.
There’s no doubt this is a big move from the Chancellor which will make a positive impact on low paid workers. But his smoke and mirrors performance hides the true face of what’s happening for the poorest and most vulnerable people in Britain.
If you’re looking to get ahead, and make a start in life, this Tory budget hits young people hard.
Housing benefit has been taken away, you won’t get the living wage, and your student grant has been axed.
True to form, Osborne is taking an axe to welfare, and is hitting those who need the most help.
Employment Support Allowance is paid to people with disabilities, sickness or mental health problems who are looking for work. Around 2 million people in the UK receive the Employment and Support Allowance in some form.
Under Conservative plans future claimants with conditions like depression, schizophrenia and bi polar will face £30 a weeks less - a third of their weekly support. That £30 that is designed to help them get well and get extra support in getting back into the workplace.
Public Sector Pay
Osborne’s attack on the public sector continues, with four more years of pay restraint. Liberal Democrats were calling for real terms pay increases.
Public Sector workers have already endured five years of pay restraint, now Osborne is punishing them for dedication with four more years of pain.
A junior police officer on £25,000 faces a real terms cut of £600.
Child Tax Credit
The Liberal Democrats blocked these proposals in government.
The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission says any cuts to Tax Credits will cut the incomes of 45% of working families. Changes would have a disproportionate effect around the country. Barnardo’s Scotland estimates 49.1% of families in Scotland currently use tax credits.
Liberal Democrats in Government stopped these cuts from happening. Nick Clegg referred to potential cuts to working age people as "extreme... unrealistic and unfair."
The Benefit Cap
The Liberal Democrats backed the £26,000 cap in Coalition, but this goes too far. Liberal Democrats do not support the lowering of the cap. This is an ideological step based on politics not on economics.
By introducing a new set of benefits, the Tories opening the door to regional pay. Something the Liberal Democrats fiercely oppose.
The IFS stated: “Reducing the benefits cap from £26,000 to £23,000 per year would hit some families with several children and/or high rents hard: the biggest losers would be about 24,000 families who are already capped and who would lose another £3,000 (up to 11.5% of their income)”.
Just 6% of the richest estates in the country currently pay IHT. Helping the richest families in the country should not be a priority at this stage.
Lib Dems blocked changes to inheritance tax in Coalition because we believed it would help only the richest families. Now, true to form, the Tories sketch out their first budget plan to offer this prime tax break to the wealthiest.
This is a direct attack on the poorest families, adding a barrier to young people going to University.
The Lib Dems blocked these plans in 2013 and insisted in it to provide extra support to the poorest students. The Tories are imposing unnecessary debt on more students, and removing support that helps poorer students into University.
Latest figures show that over 600,000 students are in receipt of a maintenance grant.