Bonfire of the bills: Tory press hails scrapping tax credits and Child Poverty Act

Newspapers throw kindling on the fire and justify the cuts to come

 

Fears that after the general election the right-wing press would cheerlead for every Tory policy, however awful, were realised almost instantly.

First it was their ‘war on the BBC’ mere days after the vote. Then they urged repeal of the Human Rights Act at the earliest convenience. (It must have been embarrassing to see David Cameron drop this from the Queen’s speech. Either way, the same newspapers helpfully dropped the subject too.)

Today it’s the turn of tax credits and the Child Poverty Act. 

The Daily Mail complains about the cost of tax credits, especially on fraudulent claims or credits awarded by mistake, (which it puts at £17billion over ten years).

Even if we grant this figure, (arrived at by the Mail itself), since the government spends £30billion on tax credits each year, that’s £17billion out of £300billion – all of 5.6 per cent. 

This hardly seems like a reason to scrap the whole thing.

Yet the Mail’s editorial pages seem to beckon just that, calling tax credits ‘A discredited subsidy’:

“Of all Labour’s legacies, among the most poisonous are Gordon Brown’s hugely complex tax credits, which have made 4.5million families part-dependent on the state…”

The editorial even seeks to discredit objections (‘howls from the Left, accusing the Tories of hammering society’s most vulnerable..’) before the reading public has heard them being made.

The Mail also commissions a former aid to the prime minister, Steve Hilton, to make a ‘compassionate conservative’ case for taking the axe to tax credits.

Meanwhile, the Murdoch-owned Times has the Child Poverty Act in its sights.

A front page story presents Mr Cameron’s view of matters, saying this ‘absurd law on children in poverty will be axed’.

The paper even dedicates a leader column to the flaws of the Act, calling repeal ‘a timely decision’.

(There is reason to believe the Times coverage followed a late briefing or notification from Downing Street. A piece on the Kurds (p31) directs readers to a leading article on p29 that doesn’t exist. Perhaps it was spiked for this one?)

The two targets are of course related. If tax credits are cut, (as may be necessary if the government wants to find £12billion of welfare ‘savings’), or scrapped altogether, child poverty will certainly increase, as it has done under this government already.

And if the method of measurement shows the wrong results, this government would rather change the measurement than change its policies.

How fortunate ministers must feel to have a press that will prepare its readers to accept and perhaps support whatever the government does – and to throw kindling on the fire.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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16 Responses to “Bonfire of the bills: Tory press hails scrapping tax credits and Child Poverty Act”

  1. stevep

    The Tory press was given free reign to spout it`s vile far-right rhetoric in the early `80s when it was allowed to crap on it`s affiliated unions and ensconce itself behind razor wire compounds by the establishment as part of the right-wing coup of the era. As Thatcher herself put it: ” To drive back the socialist state”.
    The “socialist state” never existed in the UK except in the minds of a handful of powerful right-wing loonies. Their agenda was to ensure the people of Britain didn`t wriggle out of the grasp of slavery and oppression by thinking for themselves and acting accordingly.
    The post-war consensus was destroyed and the far-right were free to wreak havoc on the economy, industry, unions, pensions, peoples lives and communities as long as the great god profit was appeased.
    In the intervening years they have consolidated their position as our “free” press and propagandised the nation to accept increasingly far-right notions that would have been laughed at years ago. Thankfully their influence is on the wane as more and more people get their news and views from other sources such as this forum and social media. Even foreign TV news channels often present a more balanced view of Britain than our press.

  2. Paul 保羅 باول Billanie

    If I recall, didn’t tax credits replace family credits and family allowance introduced by the CONservatives in the 80’s? So it is hardly Labour creating this dependance on the state.

  3. DaleMailey

    “Of all Labour’s legacies, among the most poisonous are Gordon Brown’s hugely complex tax credits, which have made 4.5million families part-dependent on the state…”

    Should this not read…

    “Of all of Labour’s legacies, among the most poisonous are Gordon Brown’s hugely complex tax credits which have made dozens of Britain’s most profitable companies more profitable.”

  4. RobD

    Unfortunately these papers still have a big influence – witness the last election campaign. We need a coordinated online news service that gives a balanced view, fact based journalism not rightnwing scare stories. Then maybe elections could be fought democratically on a level playing field.

  5. RobD

    Unfortunately these papers still have a big influence – witness the last election campaign. We need a coordinated online news service that gives a balanced view, fact based journalism not rightnwing scare stories. Then maybe elections could be fought democratically on a level playing field.

  6. Cat

    Funny that with figures showing Child Poverty is on the rise-the Tories decide that changes on the way its measured are needed…

  7. stevep

    Totally agree. If you`re interested, watch the 2015 Dimbleby lecture on YouTube with digital skills expert Martha Lane-fox explaining the power of the internet and how big companies and governments still don`t get it yet. It`s an eye-opener. https://youtu.be/5uBvapF9nxo

  8. BlueApesRevolt

    The UK press has played an enormous part in destroying the most civilised values and structures of post war Britain .The world dreamed of by Murdoch ,Dacre,Rothermere et al is materialising around us ..short sighted ,reactionary,parochial ,mistrustful ,viciously anti democratic,grossly unfair in terms of outcomes and opportunities etc This is all wrapped up in Orwellian phrases about “freedom ” and “hard work” (and in truth no matter how hard you work you may still be stuck in poverty in Murdochland .) and there is always a foreigner or a feckless scrounger to blame for Britain’s woes.

  9. TN

    LOL the bien pensants of LFF about to cry into their cereal because the net is being closed on benefit scroungers.

  10. stevep

    Absolutely correct. you are one of the few people I`ve come across who hasn`t succumbed to relentless far-right propaganda and actually “get`s” it.

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  14. Harold

    If Labour had won the election in May it might well have been the worst Labour Government ever. Yet it would still have been immeasurable better then the eventual “winners” I personally think most of the Labour policies are wrong and none of the leadership candidates convince me they could win an election, but equally none of the other anti-tory parties can convince me they can ever achieve anything other than another Tory victory. The Tory core vote will always vote Tory, even if they are harmed by the very policies put in place, they can justify it to themselves somehow. Many years ago I attended a speech by a well known politician who basically reminded the audience that they were either for us or against us. When people vote UKIP, Green, Lib Dem or any other party, the winner is the Government, as has just been proved very starkly.

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  16. gunnerbear

    Thanks to HMGs decisions, in the area I live, it will soon now be impossible for someone on benefits to get more than someone working full time. That – from what my local MP tells me (Red) is a hugely popular move – mind you the area I live is Old Red and hates the ‘something for nothing culture’ and has seen the damage mass immigration has done to the chances of the Brits at the bottom of the pile. In the area I live, UKIP came third out of nowhere in the ’15 election and the Blue + UKIP vote is way more than the Red Vote – that should scare the Labour party s**tless but it won’t as Labour whines on behalf of the illegal immigrant and benefit class and the white collar non-jobber in the public sector. It forgot about the working class a long, long time ago. Is it ’cause we’re an embarrassment to the new, metro-white collar party?

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