STEPPING FORWARD WITH THE LIBDEMS

6 July 2010

The trinity of Libdem MPs in Cornwall welcomed the June 2010 budget as “a step forward for Cornwall and the country ”.

Let’s see what a Libdem step forward looks like. The Tory Libdem budget among other measures…

* Raises VAT to 20 percent. “It is a regressive tax. It does, without question, hit the poorest more than it hits the wealthiest” – Andrew George, 24 June 2010. See Table 3 in this ONS study The effects of taxes and benefits on household income 2007/2008 but read the text and notes.

* Freezes child benefit for three years. “Freezing child benefit will hurt the poorest parents most rather than their riches peers” – Save the Children 22 June 2010

* “This is a disappointing budget for child poverty…The increase in VAT is a regressive measure which will impact hardest on poorest families…freezing it [child benefit] for three years won’t be a pain shared equally by all families. It will hit hardest the families who need it the most” Child Poverty Action Group 22 June 2010

* “Iain Duncan Smith [work and pensions secretary] admits the budget stymies bid to cut poverty” – Guardian 3 June 2010

* Cuts local housing allowance from the median to the 30th percentile of local rents

* Scraps the health in pregnancy grant from January 2011 and limits the Sure Start maternity grant to the first child only from April 2011

* Costs up to 1.3 million people their jobs – undisclosed Treasury estimate, Guardian 29 June 2010

* “Budget cuts will hit Britain’s poorest families six times harder than the richest” – Observer 27 June 2010 referring to the Don’t forget the spending cuts: the real impact of budget 2010 by Tim Horton and Howard Reed

*Scraps child tax credits for households earning more than £23 274 a year (an individual’s income or a couple’s joint income) from April 2012 (median pay in Cornwall for an individual is £21 522 pa: see the post Cornwall data on this blog).

* Cuts housing benefit from April 2013 for those who have been on job seekers’ allowance (£65.45 a week) for more than twelve months

These Libdem steps forward in the budget come as the Tory Libdem government scraps Labour’s planned extension of free school meals to children from low income families; ends the future jobs scheme; ends the building schools for the future program to refubish or rebuild secondary schools throughout England; cuts £450 million from the Homes and Communities Agency regeneration and affordable housing programs; and cuts £14 million (plus education cuts) in grants for 2010/2011 from Cornwall Council which will have a marked effect on services and jobs here. More Libdem steps forward presumably. Of course Conservatives support these too.

UPDATES
7 July 2010: Now there’s this: 10 000 jobs in the NHS disappearing despite a Tory Libdem promise – yes, I know, ‘Tory Libdem promise’ is a hoot – to protect frontline services and give the NHS especial protection.

24 July 2010: The Tory Libdem cuts in housing benefits mean nearly one million people, including pensioners, low-paid workers, and the unemployed, will lose an average of £12 a week in 2011/12. The figures come from a government analysis of the cuts. [Guardian 24 July 2010 ]

EDIT NOTES
9 July 2010: Cuts figure for Housing and Communities Agency amended to £450 million following the latest government decision on funding for the agency.

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