Jan 062013

Would be better if you gave up your job from today George, so the country is not saddled with you

This week my family will not receive the child benefit we’ve been getting every week since our children were born. Any household where at least one member is earning more than £60,000 will be in a similar position.

They can either choose to stop receiving child benefit, as we have done, or they can have the equivalent sum taken away through the tax system later.

Those earning between £50,000 and £60,000 will lose a portion of that child benefit cash.

It’s not an easy decision we’ve taken as a Government – these days, there aren’t any easy decisions. I know many of these families will not consider themselves rich. They are working hard to pay the bills and get on. But it’s a right and fair decision.

George Osborne pictured with his son Luke, daughter Liberty and wife Frances. 

These households are among the better-off 15 per cent of families in the country. The great majority of families – the other 85 per cent – will go on receiving their child benefit in full and in the usual way. By reducing the benefits that the better-off 15 per cent receive, we’re saving the country almost £2 billion every year from the welfare bill.

And we’re taking another big step this week to reduce that bill. On Tuesday, the House of Commons will vote on whether to restrict to one per cent the increase in working-age  benefits such as income support and jobseeker’s allowance, as well as tax credits, for the next three years. This will save £4.6 billion over these years, and more than £2.7 billion a year thereafter – money that would otherwise come from extra  borrowing and higher taxes.

I take no great pleasure in reducing the amount of benefits that go to people. It is not why I came into politics. But as I spent Christmas with my children, I was reminded of why I did come into politics – to ensure that they, and everyone else’s children, have a brighter future.

Future: Mr Osborne said: 'A brighter future means a future with less debt. I am determined that our children should not be saddled with paying off the bills our generation has racked up'

A brighter future means a future with less debt. I am determined that our children should not be saddled with paying off the bills our generation has racked up.

And although it’s a hard road, we are making progress. The deficit is down by 25 per cent since David Cameron became Prime Minister.

It’s right that the richest must bear the greatest burden in dealing with this problem. That is why we increased stamp duty on multi-million-pound homes, taxed the banks, restricted loopholes and tax relief for the richest, and ended the situation where some in the City were paying lower rates of tax than their cleaners. In fact, in every year of this Parliament, the rich will pay a greater share of our nation’s income revenues than in any one of the 13 years under Labour.

But anyone who says that the richest alone can pay off the deficit isn’t telling you the truth.  The deficit is too big for that.

Everyone has to make a contribution. That’s what I meant when I said we’re all in this together. And you cannot leave out the biggest item of spending – the welfare bill.

At times likes this, it’s Conservatives who understand that fairness means both that the rich have to pay more and the welfare system has to cost less.

Where is the fairness for the poorest families trapped in a system where it pays not to work?

Where is the fairness for working families who have to pay their taxes, and share in the  burden of national debt, to  support those welfare bills?

This is why Iain Duncan Smith has led the effort in Government to introduce the new universal credit, where it will always pay to work that extra hour. That’s why in each of my Budgets I’ve increased the personal income tax allowance – the amount you can earn tax-free – so that 2.2 million of the lowest- paid people are lifted out of tax altogether. I believe in taxing people less in the first place – instead of the State taxing more and then giving people back their money in benefits.

That’s why we’ve capped housing benefit, so that we no longer have families getting up to £100,000 a year for housing costs that the working people who pay for the benefit couldn’t dream of being able to afford.

This year we’re introducing the benefits cap so that no family on benefits can get more than the average working household earns from going out to work.

And that’s why the new legislation we’re introducing this week will cap at one per cent the increases in working-age benefits and tax credits. This is tough, but it is fair.

When money is short, it simply cannot be right that people on benefits get big year-on-year increases while those who go out to work have often seen their pay frozen, sometimes even cut, over the past few years.

Opposition: The Chancellor lambasted Ed Balls and Ed Miliband who he said for 'created these debts and unaffordable welfare bills in the first place'Lies: The Chancellor lambasted Ed Balls and Ed Miliband who he said for ‘created these debts and unaffordable welfare bills in the first place’

Consider this for a moment. Under 13 years of Labour, the average earnings of working people went up by 30 per cent  – while tax-credit spending increased by a whopping 340 per cent. In the past five years, people on out-of-work benefits have seen their incomes rise twice as fast as people in work.

It can’t be right that people on benefits have a bigger pay rise than those in work.

The great majority of the  country agree. But one group  of people do not – Labour politicians such as Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, who created these debts and unaffordable welfare bills in the first place.

Unbelievably, Labour say they are going to oppose our plans  to limit the increase in benefits this week. They say it’s unfair to those on low incomes. But guess what? They also oppose the removal of child benefit for those at the top. This is not about protecting those at the bottom, it’s about opposing every tough decision that needs to be made.

They oppose measures including the housing benefit cap, the overall benefits cap, the child benefit cap and the cap on increases to benefits.

By 2015-16, the total welfare savings we have announced that Labour has opposed will amount to £83 billion.

It is time Ed Balls came clean about how much working families would pay for Labour’s unfair and unsustainable benefits system. New calculations show that every single working household in the UK would pay almost £5,000 more to fund Labour’s higher welfare bills.

That means tax rises on working people, or more of the borrowing that all of us and our children will have to pay for.

Oppositions have to make choices, as well as Governments. And sometimes a choice comes along that is so big that it defines them thereafter. By opposing caps on the cost of Britain’s unaffordable benefits bill, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls are making a choice that puts them on the wrong side of all those who want to work hard and get on.

This is the week when Labour became the last defenders of uncontrolled, unreformed and unaffordable welfare.

In my job as Chancellor, there are no easy choices at the moment. The country has to live within its means and reduce its deficit – and that means either spending less or taxing more.

And this week, by spending less on welfare, we’re making further progress to that brighter future I want for my children and yours.

Discredit:- George Osborne/Mail Online


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