Chancellor George Osborne’s spending review is proving to be every bit as controversial and aggressive as people expected.
After revealing that Britain has a national debt of £109bn, the highest in the G20 and Europe, Mr Osborne claimed that the Coalitions actions since May 2010 have taken Britain from the brink of bankruptcy, and that David Cameron’s government will not be the ones to bring Britain back to that point.
The spending review not only aims to bring Britain’s economy back to a long-term stable position but to reform social welfare that will crack down on benefit fraud. The government will be giving £900million to Inland Revenue for the sole purpose of cracking down on tax evasion.
Child benefits have been hit by the George Osborne’s axe, but not as hard as other social welfare departments. Families with at least one person paying the top tax rate will no longer receive child benefits. 15% of families in Great Britain – roughly 1.2 million people – will be affected by this change.
The unemployment benefits have also been hit by the spending review. Under the review, unemployed families will receive £500 per week, which on average leaves unemployed families £93 worse off than in previous years. The conservative party acknowledges that some families will £300 worse off.
Among the changes to social welfare, George Osborne announced that the age of eligibility for state pensions for both men and women will be raised to 66 in 2020, 4 years earlier than previously stated which will lead to an estimated saving of £58bn. Though the age has gone up, Mr Osborne has promised that the winter fuel allowance and over 75 bus passes will not be affected by the budget cuts.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel for social welfare. Even though child and unemployment benefits are being cut to some people, the government will be spending a further £2bn on social care. More good news comes in the announcement that the NHS and Department of Health will not be facing cuts.
The Department of Education will not be facing cuts, however George Osborne has announced that means-tested educational maintenence allowance for university students will be cut.
LSJ News sent a reporter out to find out what the members of the Great British public thought of the reviews.