James Forsyth

Osborne’s inoculation strategy has worked

Osborne's inoculation strategy has worked
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Several of tomorrow’s newspapers lead on the IFS’ conclusion that those on the lowest income will suffer most from the cuts. This charge is problematic for the conclusion but far less problematic than it would have been if we hadn’t spent so much of the last few weeks discussing George Osborne’s decision to remove child benefit from families with a higher rate taxpayer in them. That change, however unpopular it may have been with normally Tory voters, inoculated the coalition against the charge that it was trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

Osborne’s preparation of the ground has not, though, stopped the Lib Dems slipping down to 10 percent in the polls. If the Lib Dems do drop into single figures for a prolonged period of time, then Nick Clegg’s job is going to become even more difficult.