Millionaires will be raising a glass of champagne to George Osborne as they receive tax give-aways averaging £100,000 thanks to a 5p cut in the top rate of tax that kicks in today (Saturday 6 April).
Coming at the same time when cuts to tax credits and benefits are set to make an estimated 11.5 million households poorer, the chancellor was accused by Britain’s largest union, Unite of conducting class war on the poor while giving handouts to the rich.
In what is quickly becoming described as ‘black April’ the following cuts are coming into force this month:
- 1 April – Housing benefit cut, including the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’
- 1 April - Council tax benefit cut
- 6 April – Tax credit and child benefit cut
- 7 April – Maternity and paternity pay cut
- 8 April – 1 per cent cap on the rise of in working-age benefits (for the next three years)
- 8 April – Disability living allowance replaced by personal independence payment (PIP)
- 15 April – Cap on the total amount of benefit working-age people can receive
In addition, wages have not risen in real terms since 2003 and there are further fears that the government is trying to pressurise the Low Pay Commission into cutting the national minimum wage from its present £6.19 per hour.
Commenting, general secretary Len McCluskey of Unite said: “Millionaires will be raising a glass of champagne to George Osborne this weekend as he slashes the incomes of people struggling to get by to give handouts to the rich.
"But ordinary people - taxpayers - will be furious that George Osborne has chosen to give away £1 billion to the super-rich while their fuel and food costs rise and wages are falling.
"His party knows no shame. They are trying to claim that their tax cuts benefit ordinary people but this is another lie - the truth is that while those earning over £1 million per year will be an average £100,000 better off, low income families will be around £900 worse off.
"This is not the way to recover our failing economy. Creating real jobs and paying decent wages, including a one pound increase on the minimum wage, will bring down the benefits bill and get people spending again.
"Instead of getting on with the job he ought to be doing, like sorting out the problems he has caused to our economy, Osborne prefers to encourage hatred and demonise the poor, both in and out of work, in an ideological attack on our welfare state.”
For more information please contact Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.