Georgy Osborn (who struggles with maths) said:
Deputising for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions for the first time, the Chancellor revealed new Treasury figures showing that: “We have got 1 per cent of the world’s population, 4 per cent of its GDP, but we undertake 7 per cent of the world’s welfare spending.”
The Welfare Trends report from the Office for Budget Responsibility compares the UK’s benefit spending to that of other European and OECD countries.
The UK has one of the lowest levels of spending on unemployment benefits:
And it seems that if you dig a little deeper, although employment has risen – so has in-work poverty. Where jobs don’t pay much they have to be supported by benefit payments. So, alongside the fall in the proportion of people on out of work benefits, there has been a rise in spending on tax credits and housing benefit.
The working poor now outnumber the unemployed, retired and sick put together. Not only do the in-work poor outnumber the workless, nearly half of them are in families where all the adults have jobs.
Yet MPs still talk about the “something for nothing” welfare state and the Conservative Party issues press releases saying that this is why the welfare bill is out of control?
With credit to
At noon on Wednesday, George Osborne will show us the future. Or rather, what he hopes will be his future… when he stands in for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Osborne has been preparing for this moment for 21 years. In 1994, he started briefing John Major before PMQs and he has helped every Tory leader since.
As Chancellor, Osborne has carved out time to drill Cameron on his lines every Wednesday morning. He even helped Nick Clegg out the first time he stepped up to the Dispatch Box.
The Chancellor is taking PMQs because Cameron will be absent; in his new role as First Secretary of State, Osborne is the next in line as there’s no longer a Deputy Prime Minister.
A group of academics have dismissed Conservative government’s plan to enshrine permanent budget surpluses in law as a political gimmick that ignores basic economics.
The academics said a law aw forcing the government to cut spending or raise taxes every year to generate a budget surplus, characterized as Micawber economics, would suck the economy dry and within a few years could trigger another credit crunch.
In a letter, 77 of the best-known academic economists, including French economist Thomas Piketty and Cambridge professor Ha-Joon Chang accused Chancellor George Osborne of turning a blind eye to the complexities of a 21st-century economy.
It came in response to chancellor’s Mansion House speech earlier this week during which he said the government should be forced by law to bring down the UK’s debt mountain to protect the economy against future shocks.