Tax credits are dead, long live universal tax credits

I’ve just seen on the news and then read that George Osborne has made a U-turn on the proposed cuts to tax credit cuts:

Really? It doesn’t sound much like he’s made a u-turn to me.

In case you aren’t already aware, it is already in motion for the current tax credit system to be phased out in 2017. It is currently proposed that the tax credit system will be replaced in 2018 with the universal credit system.

So why is everyone celebrating today, because I am not?

It is already speculated by many political commentators that the ‘new’ universal credit system (tax credits re-branded) will be worth less to the people that it really matters to than the current tax credit system. So to that end, isn’t George Osborne simply delaying the inevitable or is he doing exactly what he always intended to do?

In my humble opinion today’s announcement sounded very much like political and media spin on the part of the Tory government.

By political and media spin I mean, if the Torys make a big song and dance about cutting tax credits now, everyone gets excited and political activists start protesting. Then, just like that, the Torys back down and announce that they are not going ahead as planned.

In the eyes of the media this announcement is then reported as a ‘victory’ for the opposition. (You only have to read the BBC headline in the link above for example.)

But it’s not a victory because the plans are already in place to make these cuts in 2018. All George Osborn has done today is help smooth the way for future cuts by placating the media and appeasing people who were protesting against such cuts.

It’s called FORWARD PLANNING. Do not forget that politics is called politics because it is politics. Nothing more, nothing less. The ‘winners’ in politics are the ones that play the game better than all the others. So I say, well played George, you have fooled a great many people today.

If you were going to be affected by the proposed cuts to tax credit system, then keep paying close attention. Millions of people are going to be affected by the 2018 universal credits system.

Some may argue that the opposition won this battle, but the war on inequality and poverty is by no means over.

So in summary, it doesn’t sound like much of a victory to me and as a member of the opposition, I would encourage all Labour Party members to keep a close eye on the small print of the new universal credit system, as it becomes available.


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