Hoban dodges fairness question six times

On the Today programme this morning, Treasury minister Mark Hoban failed to answer Justin Webb’s question about the fairness of the Budget six times.

Hoban was interviewed in the wake of the independent IFS analysis that the June Budget was regressive and would hit the poorest household the most, repeating the line that the Government “went through a very detailed distributional analysis at the time of the Budget”.

Listen to it:

The originial IFS report published shortly after the Budget detailed how the Treasury’s own distributional assessment examined only the impact of Budget measures to 2012-13 and included measures announced by Labour in the March Budget. The IFS’ June study concluded that the Budget was regressive if considered in isolation and over the course of the entire Parliament.

The new report, released today, assesses the full impact of the Coalition’s Budget over the entirety of the parliament, and outlines that, including housing benefit, disability allowance and tax credit changes, the Budget is “clearly regressive”.

Here is a transcript of the Hoban and Webb exchange on the fairness of the Budget:

Justin Webb: Can I just ask you this quick question: have you conducted an assessment which you are required to do by law by the equalities act of 2010 to find out what affect this budget has on ethnic minorities, disabled, other vulnerable groups?

Mark Hoban: Look Justin we went through a very detailed distributional analysis at the time of the Budget, it was the most extensive piece of work that anyone has done…

JW: But have you conducted this assessment?

MH: And it looked across a wide range of households in a way that other governments haven’t done, and I think the choice that we faced…

JW: So hold on, can I just get straight from you, have you conducted this legal assessment or not?

MH: Justin, we have gone through the most detailed and rigourous assessment of the distributional impact of this Budget than any government…

JW: So you’ve not, you’ve not actually done the assessment that you’re required to do under the 2010 act?

MH: We’ve gone through the most rigourous assessment of the impact of this Budget on families…

JW: But Not this formal assessment?

MH: We’ve gone through, Justin this is the best and most detailed piece of work any government has done on the impact of their Budget on families and households…

JW: Can I just get it clear from you, you’ve not done the formal assessment that some people think you are required to do under the equalities act 2010?

MH: Justin I think you know you are looking at detail rather than actually at recognising the fact we had to take some difficult decisions in the Budget to tackle the deficit we inherited from Labour, the choice we faced was either to take action now or to do nothing…

JW: But people are going to conclude that you’ve not conducted that, I mean you call it a detail, people are going to conclude now that you haven’t conducted it and that’s a fair conclusion.

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