Tory-Lib Dem Budget hitting the poor hardest – IFS report

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WORKING class families and pensioners are being hit hardest by Chancellor George Osborne’s Emergency Budget.

This is the key finding from a study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), the country’s leading business research group specialising in tax policies. The report, published earlier this week, was commissioned by the End Child Poverty campaign.

The IFS concluded: ‘Once all of the benefit cuts are considered, the tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency budget are clearly regressive as, on average, they hit the poorest households more than those in the upper middle of the income distribution in cash, let alone percentage, terms.’

Osborne’s June Budget increased VAT from 17.5% to 20% from the New Year, froze child benefit, cut the number of people getting tax credits, slashed those on disability benefit and reduced housing benefit.

The IFS found that the 10% of working-class families in the lowest income group are set to lose 5% of their annual income, whereas the 10% of people in the top income group will lose only 1%.

In his Budget Statement, Osborne said: ‘Overall, everyone will pay something, but the people at the bottom of the income scale will pay proportionately less than the people at the top. It is a progressive budget.’

The report exposes the Tory lie, propounded by Prime Minister David Cameron, that ‘we are all in this together’. It also demolishes Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s claim that the Budget was ‘progressive austerity’.

Fiona Weir from the End Child Poverty campaign said: ‘It’s not fair that children should have to pay for the cuts and shocking that the poorest families are bearing the brunt of them.’

Commenting on the IFS report, Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘There is no compassion in this coalition. The Chancellor’s claims that his Budget was fair and progressive have been blown out of the water. It is a disgrace that children from low-income families are the ones paying the price for this bankers’ recession.’

A spokesperson from the country’s biggest union, Unite said: ‘The IFS has exposed what we have long suspected, that Osborne’s callous Budget not only hits the poorest hardest, but it also means that women, minorities and the disabled will be hit hardest too.’

Nobody in the working-class movement is surprised by the IFS’s findings and the Tory-Lib Dem Emergency Budget has already been roundly condemned by the trade union movement. But what is to be done?

At the time of June’s Emergency Budget News Line declared: ‘In this Budget the Tories show no mercy to the working class, the poor, the disabled and the children.

‘They must be treated in the same ruthless way. The shameless Trades Union Congress must be made to cancel their invitation to Tory leader Cameron to address the TUC Conference and instead the General Council must be made to call a general strike to bring Cameron and the Liberals down.’

Millions of trade unionists agreed with News Line and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber was forced to withdraw the invitation to Cameron and another to Lib Dem Vince Cable.

Behind the scenes, however, Barber and the cabal at the top of the TUC have been secretly ‘engaging’ with the Tory-Lib government.

This collaboration with a regime that is the enemy of the working class and its trade unions must be stopped immediately. Barber and company must be kicked out.

This will create conditions for a new leadership to replace them that will propose to the TUC Conference, in two weeks time, solidarity strike action between unions in the NHS, education, local councils and other sectors to defend jobs, pay and services, culminating in the organisation of a general strike to bring down the Tory-Lib Dem regime.

This is a weak government that has no mandate to dismantle the Welfare State and pauperise millions of working-class families. It must be replaced by a workers’ government that will implement socialist policies. This is what has to be done!