When a tax cut isn't a tax cut
One way of looking at the measures to tackle child poverty is that they are like a £1 billion tax cut. After all, the result is that the government is giving money back to taxpayers so that the people can decide how to spend their money, rather than the government deciding it for them. A victory for those who complain about the 'tax burden', I thought.
So I went to visit the Taxpayers' Alliance website, because as a non-partisan campaigning group, not in any way aligned with the Conservative Party, campaigning for lower taxes, I was sure that they would share my pleasure at this tax cut.
But what is this? They've done a spreadsheet with levels of tax for every different model of car, but no celebration of the billion pound tax cut! Instead they call it 'welfare spending', which is bad, apparently, because if poor families have more money to spend as they choose, it creates 'dependency'.
And then I turned to the Guardian, and an article which claims that 'middle income Britain' will lose out from rises in National Insurance. This will affect people earning more than £35,000 per year. But people earning more than £35,000 per year aren't 'middle income earners', they are earning significantly above the national average.
It's been a very clever trick to redefine tax cuts for lower income people as 'welfare spending', and tax rises for above average earners as 'more tax for middle earners'. But people interested in fairness, economic growth and social justice shouldn't be taken in.