Posts Tagged ‘tax credits’

Osborne has laid the most obvious trap for Labour on tax credits. Will the party blunder in?

13/07/2015, 12:21:26 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Ten years since 7/7. Ten years since London won the Olympics. Ten years since Robin Cook was telling Labour party events that he was meeting people whose fortunes have been transformed by tax credits, but who don’t realise that they have the (then Labour) government to thank rather than some obscure administrative change at the Inland Revenue.

While the Labour government did good, Cook argued, it was not credited with having done it, as it was done by stealth. The tax credits architecture that Gordon Brown quietly built, and which helped the UK to an impressively robust employment performance, even after the financial crisis, was loudly dismantled in George Osborne’s Budget.

Where New Labour reassured business, while using state levers to redistribute with minimal fanfare, Ed Miliband was a Labour leader eager to have business do more. Whether Osborne would have found it harder to take an axe to tax credits if Labour had trumpeted them as bullishly as Cook preferred, as well as whether Osborne would have been in the position to do so had Miliband more assiduously courted business, are imponderables.

As Osborne warmly embraced Iain Duncan-Smith’s welfare reforms to declare himself the bringer of social justice and adopted a form of the predistribution beloved of Miliband by accompanying his dilution of tax credits with legislation for a claimed living wage, Labour’s attempt to come to terms with these unknowns is complicated by Tory cross-dressing.

In spite of events in Greece, the Budget, unlike in 2010, was pitched less as a bulwark against calamity and more as a staging post to better future. In which we are all invited to share. Reality may struggle to keep pace with the one nation rhetoric. Particularly when a tool for creating an income floor (the statutory minimum wage, which is what Osborne has raised through his supposed living wage) is deployed as a replacement for incentives to additional work (working tax credits).


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If we want to give our children the best start in life, Europe shows us the way

18/01/2013, 07:00:12 AM

by Robin Thorpe

In 2007 a UNICEF study ranked children in the UK as having the lowest levels of well-being in the developed world. When compared with 21 other industrialized nations in the OECD the UK ranked bottom on three out of the six dimensions of well-being and bottom overall.

A UNICEF UK report into this published in 2011 found that good relationships with family and friends are key to children’s long-term well-being. The report also found that relative wealth was a factor in a child’s well-being. Children who don’t have enough to fit in with their peers are less happy, as are children in households which have seen their income drop unexpectedly, or are uncertain about their economic future. Inequality is at the core of this issue;

“Where parents are paid at, or close to, the minimum wage, they often must work long hours or take several jobs in order to make ends meet and this can impact on their ability to spend quality time with their children.”

Paying for childcare is a significant factor in determining the working life of many parents in the UK. Some people are unable to work because they can’t afford child-care, many more choose to work fewer hours to minimize the cost of their childcare and some can’t find work that fits around the available child-care options and therefore don’t work.

Others work extra hours to pay for their child-care and therefore spend less time with their children then they would like. By comparison many French mothers return to work part-time within 3-6 months of giving birth; they can do this because the French municipal authorities provide subsidized crèches for infants from 2 ½ months old. For parents on low-incomes crèche is entirely free. In addition French municipal authorities provide free nursery provision for all children between the ages of 2 to 6. Most children do not attend full-time at 2; however by 3 most children attend at least 4-days a week.


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Ed Miliband clears up confusion over tax credits

05/08/2010, 12:08:56 PM

On Tuesday we reported on the fallout coming from an Ed Miliband interview with the Northern Echo that took place last week. The article stated that:

During the interview, Mr Miliband controversially suggested that people in the South should receive higher tax credits than people in the North, to reflect the higher cost of living.

It also quoted Miliband as saying:

We can look at the level of tax credits, so they benefit people in the South who haven’t benefited from the minimum wage.

However Ed’s campaign has been quick to refute this. A campaign spokesman for Miliband Jnr told Uncut that:

This [story] is based on a misunderstanding by the Northern Echo. He did not say he was in favour of regional rates and indeed he isn’t.


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Trouble at Ed Mil

03/08/2010, 07:33:07 PM

Word reaches Uncut of trouble brewing for Ed Mil.

The young pretender made some unguarded comments to  a regional newspaper last week about differential  benefit levels for those in the North and the South. He told the Northern Echo that benefits  should be raised in the South to offset the higher cost of living. Northern MPs are said to be, “concerned” – Parliamentary language for bouncing off the walls.

They fear he could be opening the door for the Conservatives to drive through a two-tier tax credit system aimed at placating jittery southern Lib Dems and uppity Shire Tories.

This may of course turn out to be a storm in an ale mug, or it could be the first ‘A’ list gaffe of the leadership campaign.

A bold plan for a Labour resurgence ‘dahn saaf’? Or evidence of young Edmond’s political immaturity? Watch this space.

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