James Forsyth

The beginning of the end of universal benefits

The beginning of the end of universal benefits
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The most important line in George Osborne’s speech was this one:

“It’s very difficult to justify taxing people on low income to pay for the child benefit of those earning so much more than them.”

Personally, I’m quite happy to see universal benefits go. The end of universal benefits would, though, change the nature of the welfare state. Quite rapidly, it would become a safety net not a contributory system. This is why Labour will oppose so vigorously taking child benefit away from those on the higher rate of tax.

One other thing worth noting is the eight mentions of aspiration in the speech. It is a subject that Osborne believes the Tories must own if they are to keep Labour out.