False economies

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In his keynote speech to his party faithful, Chancellor George Osborne made all the right noises as he announced the scrapping of the 55 per cent tax rate on inherited pension funds.

It is legislation that will affect less than 0.5 per cent of the population overall – but at a guess more than 50 per cent of the ­audience he was addressing.

Then we had the announcement of the two-year freeze on benefits (excluding pensions and disability benefits) should the Conservatives win the 2015 elections.

This is legislation that will affect millions of people, including many who are in employment but dependant on benefits.

George Osborne could have taken the opportunity to announce legislation to introduce the living wage for both public and private sector employees, ­effectively removing many from dependency on benefits and ­subsequently reducing the welfare bill.

His approach is a false economy and will plunge more hard-working families into poverty.

Last week we had Labour’s Ed Balls following the Tories with a cap on child benefit, now we have Osborne announcing a freeze on benefits generally.

Have they been comparing notes or are they making a joint, concerted effort to attack the needy and disadvantaged?

Glaringly omitted from the current and perhaps the future incumbent of 11 Downing Street in their respective speeches to their party faithful were the words “food bank” and their growing use in our communities, perhaps not on their future menu.

Catriona C Clark

Hawthorn Drive