Was it rushed though to wrong-foot EdM?
The Mail’s front page this morning sets out the real challenge for the government over yesterday’s shock announcement by George Osborne on the withdrawal of child benefit from those who are paying tax at the higher rate.
For as is well summed up in the headline it seems to be unfair and to penalise stay-at-home mums.
The paper sums it up succinctly: “It will mean that any couple with one earner paid more than the Â£44,000 higher-rate tax threshold will lose their child benefit, even if the other stays at home and has no income. So two working parents each earning just under the higher-rate tax threshold could earn more than Â£80,000 and retain child benefit, while a household with just one income of Â£45,000 would lose theirs.”
Such apparent unfairness can touch a raw nerve – particularly in the “Mumsnet” community which has evolved into a powerful political force.
The bigger argument that Osborne and other ministers sought to deploy about the need to deal with the deficit gets lost in the specific detail and even the usually assured Tory minster, Philip Hammond, was less than convincing in one TV interview after another last night.
I just wonder whether Osborne pushed forward with this announcement in order to put Ed Miliband, a supporter of universal benefits, on the spot.
Would the new leader rush to the defence of higher rate tax-payers? In fact there was very little reaction from Labour apart from, interestingly given the speculation about who’ll become shadow chancellor, Yvette Cooper.
Today we see Iain Duncan Smith’s big speech on welfare reforms. How’s that going to go down?