My letter on the cuts is apparently in the Western Daily Press today - I have already received three emails thanking me for raising the issues - however if I'd waited the evidence of unfairness is mounting....
In every income group, from the richest to the poorest, parents with school age children will lose more than single people, childless couples and pensioners, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). The IFS calculated that the average family with children will be losing £1,964 of its £29,242 net income a year by 2014-15, when the spending cuts and tax rises announced by this Government and the last have taken effect. That loss will be equal to a 6.7 per cent drop in income, the IFS said. By contrast, the average pensioner will lose 2.9 per cent, and childless adults will lose 2.7 per cent.
Nick Clegg calls all this 'distorted nonsense' - well it is true that the you can get stats to tell almost any story but we have here one of the most respected thinktanks in Government circles making this analysis. Since then many more are looking into the details.
Various campaign groups have also condemned the cuts. The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) for example has declared the government's spending review "worryingly short-sighted and profoundly unfair."
Dr Faiza Shaheen, Researcher on Economic Inequality at the new economics foundation said: "The Coalition Government has repeatedly said that we should not saddle future generations with today’s debts. But with these drastic spending cuts there is a serious danger of creating false economies. Spending cuts which will disproportionately affect women and poorer families will inevitably harm their children and young people. Despite the promises that have been made, some of these cuts will entrench patterns of poverty and inequality, reducing social mobility and worsening health and social outcomes.”
Johann Hari: "A colder, crueller country - for no gain" - "....spending cuts are ideologically motivated, and have been proven not to work in relieving economic crises... PriceWaterhouseCooper – nobody's idea of a Trotskyite cell – says that a million people will now lose their jobs as a direct result....." See here.
Taking the Government to Court
Meanwhile Yvette Cooper and The Fawcett Society are going to court over the unfairness of the cuts on women. Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, said: "The cuts are so deep and will hit women so hard that they risk more than women’s financial security – they threaten hard fought progress we’ve made on women’s equality. The Chancellor’s plans undermine the status of women as equal partners with men in the world of work, home and society as a whole."
Green MP Caroline Lucas – one of the three women in the House of Commons representing independent parties – asked chancellor George Osborne in July whether his department undertook an equalities impact assessment of the budget, he fudged: "I shall let the honourable member have a reply as soon as possible." "A simple yes or no would have done," commented Lucas.
When I asked the Treasury in July whether it had carried out an equality impact assessment, a spokesman insisted that it had. Where was it published? On the website, said the Treasury. No, it isn't. A month later the Treasury sent a Freedom of Information Act response admitting there had been no Equality Impact Assessment, and adding: "It would not be possible to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment over this broad range of measures."