This was one of those cases in which failure to answer a question was an answer: David Cameron has effectively told us that his henchman George Osborne’s tax credit cuts for three million people will harm their household finances, no matter how he says he’ll “soften the blow”.
And, thanks to the clever decision of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, he repeated that answer no less than five times, in order to really hammer the message home.
And what was that message?
“Conservatives will harm the finances of the poorest working households, no matter what. They will do it, not because it is necessary (it isn’t) but because they want to.”
You see, cutting £1,300 from the income of three million households isn’t saving money – it’s removing £3.9 billion from the UK economy.
That money would have entered the economy at almost the best point for it to do the economy the most good – passing through more transactions than any other money (apart from benefit money) before returning to the government as tax.
So the economy will shrink as a result of this move. Perhaps Cameron and Osborne are hoping that it won’t make much of a difference if the economy is growing faster, creating enough profit to offset the shrinkage, when the hammer falls.
Considering the most recent figures, that seems a hopelessly optimistic forecast.
“David Cameron refused six times under questioning from the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to say whether people would be left worse off by cuts to tax credits after the Treasury revises the proposals.
Corbyn used every opportunity at prime minister’s questions to ask Cameron whether 3 million people would still lose money after the chancellor has looked at ways to soften the blow of the cuts.
The Treasury was forced to look again at the plans after the House of Lords exploited the lack of a Tory majority in the second chamber to delay the plans until there was better compensation for workers who could lose an average of £1,300 a year.
Responding to Corbyn, Cameron complained that the tax credit plans were defeated by Labour and other opposition peers in a “new alliance of the unelected and unelectable”.
But Corbyn dismissed his outrage about the House of Lords overriding the will of the Commons, saying: “This is not a constitutional crisis. This is a crisis for 3 million people.”
Oh, and let’s kill off another nonsense story. You know when Cameron and the other Tories say, “We are committed to the vision of a high-pay, low-tax, lower welfare economy”?
They mean “high pay, low tax” for those who are already rich.
That leaves “lower welfare” for you. Their plan to cut tax credits proves it.
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