What a difference a year makes

George Osborne today announced the end of child benefit as a universal benefit. The move is in direct contradiction to his conference speech last year.

George Osborne made his speech to Conservative party conference today. As expected he announced that the Conservative party would reverse its pledge to protect child benefit.

Last year, George Osborne told Conservative party conference:

“We will preserve child benefit, winter fuel payments and free TV licenses. They are valued by millions.”

Watch it:

This year, he said:

“We still pay over a £1 billion in child benefit to higher rate tax payers… We will withdraw child benefit from households with a higher rate tax payer.”

Aping Nick Clegg’s conference speech, George Osborne equated the structural deficit to a “credit card bill” despite the metaphor being referred to as “simplistic nonsense“, “totally misleading“, and a “disreputable old populist fallacy”. He failed to address the risk of Britain mirroring Ireland’s cuts experience.

Meanwhile, journalists were quick to ask for more detail on his proposal to cap benefits. The Times’ Sam Coates tweeted, “what is that limit and how many currently above” while The Spectator’s Peter Hoskin added “And how much will it save?”. Columnist David Aaronovitch said, “The family benefit cap sounds tough and fair, superficially, but the details may be crippling for some. Figures please.” Channel 4 News’ Faisal Islam predicted: “the crowdpleasing avg family limit on benefits will be fiscally utterly irrelevant, affect a few hundred, maybe low thousands.”

Hat tip: Mehdi Hasan

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16 Responses to “What a difference a year makes”

  1. Union

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  2. Angela Pateman

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  3. Craig Williams

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  4. James Cowley

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  5. Michelle Graham

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  6. safefromwolves

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  7. Shamik Das

    What a difference a year makes – @wdjstraw exposes George Osborne's child benefit flip-flop on @leftfootfwd: http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  8. Tim Watson

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  9. Vassall View

    RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  10. Martin Johnston

    LibDems, This is YOUR chancellor… RT @leftfootfwd: What a difference a year makes – Osborne's child benefit flip-flop http://bit.ly/az8pHf

  11. john

    A cynical move to turn the middle class against the welfare state.
    What would be fair would be 50% tax at £100,000,this would raise double the saving the child benefit cap would save.

  12. Peter Dixon

    Same old tories – what a difference a year makes – http://bit.ly/cztBtW

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Will Straw – Once the coalition got access to the dire state of the finances the Labour government left us in all bets were off.

    Remember what Labour’s own treasury minister said about all the money being spent.

    As regards to the government changing its mind look at Labour – Lisbon Treaty and tuition fees spring to mind.

    Unless of course your real objection to the change of mind is that you think poor people on minimum wage should pay taxes to give money to rich people in benefits. That would be the Labour way Will…

  14. Child Benefit cuts will hit the poor hardest in the long run | Left Foot Forward

    […] a secure and constant source of income as they bring up their children. Today’s announcement is at odds with the then shadow Chancellor’s speech to the Tory party conference a year ago, in which […]

  15. Mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, I also remember what the Office for Budget Responsibility said about the state of the finances before Osborne’s budget.

    Based on Darling’s plans, the OBR forecast borrowing as a percentage of GDP to be 0.6% lower than Darling forecast this year, and then I believe 0.1%-0.2% down on Darling’s forecasts for each of the next few years. And they have also downgraded our growth prospects following Osborne’s budget compared with those prospects following Darling’s.

    Lets remember that Cameron said he was going to protect things like Winter Fuel Allowance, Free Bus Passes ETC during the election, accusing Labour of scaremongering.

    And no, I do not think people on NMW should pay for tax cuts for the rich. But, as Cameron said, people on £44000 are not ‘super rich.’ I think it would be a better idea if we took a tougher line on them, like John is suggesting with the top rate of income tax.

  16. Peter S

    Why is he waiting until 2013? When will the “cap”on benefits at 26K per annum be introduced? Why no mention of tax evaders and avoiders being pursued and contributing more? What will be the implications for Benefit Agency staff who will have to administrate and monitor this new initiative; plese can we hear from someone who currently works in the “frontline”.

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