The Chancellor should reflect on the role of families in creating a thriving economy. Working families experiencing falling incomes are about to suffer NI rises and the loss of tax credits, while rampant inflation is severely denting their spending power. So it’s not surprising that yesterday’s ComRes poll for the Mail showed 64% of the public think the Government doesn’t understand the problems faced by ordinary families.
The Treasury’s decision to cut back on non means-tested payments – such as Child Benefit and the family and baby elements of tax credits – might seem like easy targets, but such moves exacerbate the damaging effect of high marginal tax rates, creating real disincentives to breadwinners to increase their earnings.
George Osborne needs to think of families as engines of growth. It would be great to hear him outline a pro-family fiscal policy with clear incentives for work and family stability, not just to ease the burden on today’s families but to create social and economic capital for the future.