ONE MILLION low-income families have been lifted out of tax since the beginning of the Coalition Government, the Chancellor, George Osborne, said on Wednesday in his Budget statement, as he set out plans to go “much further and much faster” towards setting a personal tax allowance of £10,000.
Mr Osborne introduced the Budget as one designed to support “working families” and “those looking for work”, but also one that “unashamedly backs business”.
He also, however, announced a tax-cut for the rich, which was immediately criticised by poverty campaigners. The 50p tax rate, which applies to those earning more than £150,000 a year, and was introduced by the previous Government as a temporary measure, is to be reduced to 45p.
Other new taxes on the rich would generate five times more in income each year, he said. After describing tax-evasion and “aggressive tax- avoidance” as “morally repugnant”, Mr Osborne announced plans to introduce a “General Anti-Avoidance Rule” and a crackdown on the avoidance of stamp duty.
The Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, said that the Chancellor had produced a “millionaire’s budget”. “How can the priority for our country be an income-tax cut for the richest one per cent . . ?” he asked.
A spokesman for the Children’s Society said: “Cuts elsewhere will still leave many of the poorest families struggling . . . The basic essentials are slipping further out of reach of more and more people. The Government has missed an opportunity to help reverse this.”
Christian Aid said that the Chancellor had failed to tackle the root causes of tax evasion, arguing that a deal it has with Switzerland “colludes with Swiss financial secrecy”.
Christina Samson, from the campaigning group UK Uncut said: “The anti-avoidance rules are so weak they are just PR fluff, and the changes in stamp duty may be unenforceable. So let’s not be fooled into thinking that George Osborne is Robin Hood. He is blatantly the Sheriff of Nottingham.”