Wednesday News Review

Osborne & Cameron face backlash over child benefit grab

There was a massive backlash because the cut targets stay-at-home mothers, who protested they would be unable to cope and would be better off divorced. That is because two working parents can get more than £80,000 between them without being hit, while next-door neighbours with one earner on £45,000 will lose out. Shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper said yesterday: “This is a shocking attack on children. Families of all incomes are being hit hardest. “Government Ministers clearly have no idea of the pressures ordinary parents face and how hard people are working to support their children.” – The Bristol Evening Post

The coalition talks about creating a fairer tax and benefits system… then allows a couple earning £86,000 to keep payments someone on £44,000 would lose – and produces a marginal tax rate which means a £1 wage rise could cost a dad of three £47.10 a week. Panicked Cameron is suddenly disinterring a married couples tax allowance. Forget for a moment the injustice of penalising unmarried mums and dads – where, pray, would he get the cash to pay for it? Rob Peter to pay Paula? Suddenly George Osborne admits £11billion cuts in the Budget hit the poorest hardest to justify the child benefit lunacy. The Chancellor denied that very charge a few months ago. – The Mirror

There is that storm on the horizon, the hurricane conjured by Mr Cameron himself and his apprentice, George Osborne. You could call it Grandson of Poll Tax. It does not mean, this time, that an economic experiment will be visited on Scotland first. But amid a Scottish election campaign, and amid the ensuing debate, that’s how it will feel. Received wisdom has long held, of course, that “the cuts” were ominous for Tories and Liberal Democrats alike with elections due in May. What was overlooked was the precise nature of the losses, their specific geographical – and devolved political – circumstances. The north of England is to catch hell: so much has been noticed in parts of London. But the defence review looms large, for better or worse, the length and breadth of Scotland. The Scottish grant, by its very nature, will raise a slew of issues as Mr Osborne sets merrily to work, not least for Scotland’s Tories and LibDems. – The Herald

David Cameron will today try to bribe married Tory voters with a tax break to make amends for his ruthless child benefits axe. After the chaos and anger over his slash-and-burn attack on the welfare state, he will offer the compromise to try to win back middle Britain. His keynote speech has been hastily rewritten to stop the Tory annual conference being wrecked by the move to cut child payments for 1.2million families where one person earns over £44,000. But the Prime Minister’s tax break for high-earning married couples is also set to spark fury as it discriminates against single mums and families where both husband and wife work. – The Mirror

Osborne distances himself from Lib Dem line on tax avoidance

Chancellor attacks evasion but holds back from following Lib Dem assault on avoidance. Reform of child benefit may have dominated headlines Tory chancellor George Osborne has also distanced himself from the outspoken attacks on tax avoidance and evasion launched by Business Secretary Vince Cable, Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander and party leader Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference. Osborne declared: “We will not tolerate tax evasion. It is unacceptable at the best times; it too is morally indefensible in times like these. And this party will not stand for it. So we will demand that the richest in our society bear their share of the burden.” But he made no mention of “avoidance” and the issue has not been seized on at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham. – Financial Director

Gordon fights for shipyard contracts

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned of the devastating impact of cancelling the contract for two navy aircraft carriers. Joining the fight to save the threatened £5 billion project, which would sustain 10,000 jobs across the UK, he said it would be a “betrayal” of Rosyth and the Clyde shipyards if the contract was to be scuttled under the Strategic Defence Review. The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP claimed there might only be three years life left in Rosyth dockyard if the contract were cancelled. Losing out on the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales would devastate the Scottish shipbuilding industry and lose thousands of jobs, threatening the livelihoods of many families. The cost of cancelling the contracts could be greater than allowing them to go ahead. – The Courier

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