Yesterday the Institute of Fiscal Studies published its analysis of George Osbourne's 'progressive' budget. At the time the budget was announced many of us raised our eyebrows, okay since my stroke I can only raise my right eyebrow but I still did my best. Some of us really couldn't work out how a budget that promised to hammer people on benefits and more pertinently those in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, could be progressive and fair. How could this fit in with a fairer society?
Well we got our answer yesterday... it isn't. The Institute of Fiscal studies, who the government listens to when it suits stated "once all of the benefit cuts are considered, the tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency Budget are clearly regressive as, on average, they hit the poorest households more than those in the upper-middle of the income distribution in cash, let alone percentage, terms".
Not surprisingly the government has decided that this is incorrect, although oddly it they don't argue with the figures, but what they do say is that it hasn't looked at the bigger picture as, as Mr Nick Clegg stated "It does not include the things we want to do to get people off benefits and into work," and "If you just look at who is receiving benefits then, in a sense, you don't ask the most important question of all, which is how you can relieve poverty and make Britain fairer by getting people off benefits and into work." Now who isn't looking at the bigger picture Nick?
Doubtless there is a percentage of people who are happy to collect their benefits no questions asked, but research regarding disabled people doesn't bear this out Nick. As I wrote a few weeks back in my blog entitled "Dispelling the Disability Myths" in 2008 there were 6.8 million disabled people in the UK of which 3.3 million of us were then in work and of those that didn't a further million would like to work given the chance. This means that giving disabled people employment does not mean they are no longer disabled, therefore not only should still qualify for Disability Living Allowance, but their continued employment depends upon it.
Anyway, I saw this months ago so can with justification be very pleased with myself as the Institute of Fiscal Studies has shown I was right. Don't get we wrong readers, we're still all screwed for the foreseeable future, but the important thing is that I was right ... now if only I could get the likes of Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and Mr Osbourne to listen to me.