We are constantly being told that the British public has swallowed the 'scroungers and skivers' rhetoric about benefit claimants, and is broadly in favour of welfare cuts. Any politician who opposes these cuts is widely portrayed as unrealistic and unelectable. But what if that is not true, and the public's attitude is actually far less harsh than the Westminster bubble would have us believe?
Within hours of Wednesday’s budget, a video was circulating round social media of Iain Duncan Smith punching the air with delight. Given that even the Daily Mail has noticed the damage the budget is going to do to the poorest,many saw that as yet another sign of the minister’s heartlessness.
It would be quite misleading to describe the 2015 Summer Budget as a “one nation budget” or as favouring “working families” and “giving the nation a pay rise” in any meaningful sense, says Simon Barrow. On the contrary it hits low income households and disabled people, and will increase further Britain’s alarming levels of inequality.
Inevitably budgets produce criticism, and just as inevitably the cry "what would you do?" or "what's the alternative?" Our good friend and stalwart Tax Research policy analyst and change-agent Richard Murphy pre-figured that question with a significant talk and article a couple of days ago: one that deserves further attention.