Monday, 4 October 2010

The Tories are getting it wrong

No one can deny that Britain has a massive budget deficit. Similarly no one would want to deny that that deficit has to be reduced - it's what all of the political parties were talking about at the general election (albeit that each party wanted to address the deficit in different ways).

The coalition government has got tough decisions to make, many of which will be unpopular amongst the electorate simply because increasing taxes and cutting services is bound to be.

Nobody ever wants to pay more to get less, imagine going to the supermarket and forking out £10 more than you usually do but coming out with a half empty trolley. That is what is happening with this government.

So today our Chancellor unveiled some big changes to the benefit system.

First of all Mr Osborne anounced that anyone who now pays higher rate tax from 2013 will no longer be eligible for Child Benefit. In itself not the worst possible cut which could be introduced, the Labour party have long opined about the well off in society making a greater contribution to the tax burden.

Secondly, the Chancellor has revealed that no claimant shall ever receive more in benefit than the average working family. Once again on the face of it many many people would agree with this measure.

So where, I hear you ask, is my problem with these announcements?

The answer is simple. Mr Osborne is oversimplifying major issues on a massive scale.

You will have heard on the news no doubt that a single parent earning £45K per year and raising three children will no longer receive child benefit and yet two parents raising a single child and each earning £38K will continue to be eligible. Where is the equity in this? No one is saying not to stop child benefit for the well off in our society but to have such a glaring inequity is a travesty.

As for benefit claimants receiving high levels of income once again we have simplification gone mad. What are we to do with large families living in our cities and claiming housing benefit? Do they need to be moved into areas away from their community to meet an arbitrary cap or do we simply allow them to live under the strains of poverty?

The last Government spent years, admittedly with varying success, trying to raise families and children in particular out of poverty. This government will see many fall into it on the stroke of a pen. Is this the society we want or deserve?

Mr Osborne is a highly educated man. Surely he appreciates that our society isn't simple. In fact it is highly complex.

Unfortunately, for those that will be affected, we should consider the circumstances of families and not simply make swingeing changes based on arbitrary tokenism in a vain effort to make things easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment