Budget, fudget

by Stephen Tall on March 29, 2007

After Gordon Brown’s botched budget last week, many Labour MPs and activists were mustard-keen to point out that poorer people – those earning less than £18.5k – would be better off in the round, once tax credits were taken into account.*

So I was interested to read this snippet in today’s Financial Times, reporting the evidence given by Treasury officials to MPs on the Treasury committee examining the 2007 budget:

Officials were also willing to concede … that 5.3m families would lose from the budget changes; that government spending plans did not forsee the take-up rate of working tax credit rising from its current dismal 25 per cent; and that there would be no money in the autumn comprehensive spending review dedicated to fighting child poverty.

* There were two small problems with this argument: (i) it isn’t true, and (ii) not everyone is eligible for tax credits, as pointed out by Ming Campbell at PMQs yesterday.