The Budget documents are generally available as soon as the Chancellor sits down, and as always there is a convenient summary in tabular form (though annoyingly, this time it is in the middle of the document, starting at page 50). I am always puzzled by the elements that the press pick out for attention, and those they do not. For example, this morning’s reports include coverage of the measures that benefit Dundee (which is of great interest to me, but possibly not to all of you) while some important measures seem to have passed under the radar. Examples include announcements of
- a single-tier State Pension, ending the state second pension (para 1.212); and
- the intention to allow the minimum wage to be eroded by inflation – it will no longer be uprated to maintain its value (1.242).
Although it has been announced more than once that plans to stop mobility payments for people in residential care were to be dropped, the savings from that measure are back in the tables (top of page 53).
I should add that the numbers of unemployed people are predicted to fall by about a quarter in the next five years (para 1.23), and the numbers of unemployed claimants are predicted to fall to 1.2 million. This will happen at a time when more than half a million people currently on ESA will be reclassified as fit for work and required to claim Jobseekers Allowance instead. The figures are not credible.