The coalition’s mid-term “mid-term” parliamentary programme – which is hogging the headlines today – may seem rather thin compared with the original coalition agreement of 2010, which ran into hundreds of pledges.
What’s striking is today’s PR stunt (sorry, renewal of political vows) also includes one or two areas where an agreement is by no means pinned down between the Tories and Lib Dems.
One of these is the attempt by George Osborne and others to inject billions of pounds into the road network, preferably by a privatisation of the motorways and trunk roads. Read more
This year is likely to be one of the hardest for the coalition, as spending cuts begin to hit harder than ever before. Tory MPs are warning that the measure that is most worrying their constituents is the removal of child benefit from higher earners, and analysis today from the Institute of Fiscal Studies gives us some inclination as to why.
The IFS has examined how much this will cost parents earning over £50,000 – the point at which the payments begin to be taken away. It has found that the measure will mean that for someone with one child who earns over £50,000, they will have a marginal tax rate of 52.6 per cent. In other words, for every extra pound earned over that level, 52.6p will be taken away. As they continue to go up the income scale, they will lose more and more cash until they hit £60,000 and all the child benefit payments are gone. This results in a marginal tax graph that looks like this:
Labour shadow ministers have been piling into the argument over the three year squeeze on working-age benefits, which will limit their rise to just 1 per cent rather than inflation as normally happens.
Ed Balls is at it again today in a piece for PoliticsHome, in which he says:
Two-thirds of people who will be hit by David Cameron and George Osborne’s real terms cuts to tax credits and benefits are in work.