Week 28: Villain – George Osborne

by Jackie_South on July 12, 2015

Tory_VillainThis week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer walks away with the regular award for our greatest villain

There was an evil genius to George Osborne’s budget on Wednesday – what should of course have been an entirely unnecessary budget given that he was Chancellor of the Exchequer four months ago when the last budget was agreed.

We have a budget that has targeted the poor – in particular the second decile of earners through cuts to tax credits, and helped the rich by raising the threshold for inheritance tax. In doing so, Osborne has done precisely the opposite to what he has claimed: he has made life much harder for the strivers in low paid work and much easier for well-off skivers who wait for daddy’s fortunes to fall into their laps.

The evil genius of course is in the packaging: stealing the robes of the ‘Living Wage’, bastardising it by cutting its value, promising it in five years time and excluding under-25s, and then wrapping the torn shroud around the bloodied body of the Welfare State. And at the same time making Labour look rather silly by having a value above the meagre minimum wage increase promised in this year’s manifesto.

And then there are the other cuts: the welfare cap lowered by £6,000 outside London to £20,000; the removal of the entitlement to Housing Benefit to the Under-25s; the brutal cuts to the already massively cut local government and emergency services.

It was a budget of half-truths: the increase in the housing benefit bill due to rent increases has been countered, not by hitting where this has happened most rapidly – in the private sector – but by imposing a rent cut on social landlords. Where social rents have increased most, of course, is where housing associations were told by the Coalition five years ago to increase them to up to 80% of market rents to offset the 75% cut in government funding for new affordable homes.

This was a horrific budget for the poor, the young and the urban.

So well done if you are a rich pensioner living in the Home Counties – this government is doing very well for you. Sadly, Gideon has sent the rest of us off to a financial hell in a hand cart to keep you in the manner to which you have become accustomed.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: