Tories raise alarm as George Osborne ends child benefit for all

Warning that £1bn cut 'misdirected' as higher-rate taxpayers with children lose at least £1,055 a year
George Osborne
George Osborne is facing strong criticism over his controversial changes to the welfare system. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
George Osborne demolished the universal principle at the heart of the welfare state today with the withdrawal of child benefit from 1.2 million higher income families, prompting warnings that he was punishing the party's middle-class base and undermining stay-at-home mothers.

Insisting he was making "tough but fair" reforms to tackle the national deficit, Osborne told his party conference he was withdrawing child benefit from parents earning enough to pay higher-rate tax – currently about £44,000.

It will mean a loss of £1,055 a year for one-child families and almost £2,500 for those with three children.

In an attempt to protect his rightwing flank, Osborne balanced his attack on middle-class benefits by announcing a £26,000-a-year cap on the total value of benefits received by workless households.

The changes, due to be introduced in 2013, will save the Treasury £1bn a year in child benefit and £250m in housing benefit payments as it seeks to eliminate the UK's £109bn structural deficit by the end of this parliament.

Although the prime minister, David Cameron, had warned his party that the "rubber was about to hit the road" on spending cuts, many senior backbenchers feared the manner of today's attack on child benefit was badly misdirected.

The Treasury acknowledged the cut would lead to the anomaly of a two-income family earning as much as £86,000 not losing the benefit while a family with the father earning more than £44,000 and the wife staying at home will lose all of it.

The Centre for Social Justice, the thinktank set up by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, expressed "concern" at the measure and urged the government to "explore alternative options" before implementation in 2013.

The children's minister, Tim Loughton, said the benefit – to be withdrawn through the tax system – could be reinstated once the deficit is tackled. Osborne did not make this commitment himself today.

Duncan Smith said he did not love the announcement, but said the decision was necessary to raise £1bn.

Phillip Hammond, the transport secretary who insisted during the election that universal principle surrounding child benefit must be protected, admitted the cabinet had agonised about the decision.

Critics said the simplicity of the measure would bring perverse disincentives, such as the loss of £2,500 in child benefit if a family with three children were to have a rise in income of £300 from £43,500.

Hammond admitted the simple system would bring anomalies, but he said the Treasury had to choose between these and a complex system of means testing.
Osborne told his conference: "Believe me I understand that most higher-rate taxpayers are not the super rich.

"But a system that taxes working people at high rates only to give it back in child benefit is very difficult to justify at a time like this. And it is very difficult to justify taxing people on low incomes to pay for the child benefit of those earning so much more than them. When the debts left by Labour threaten our economy, when are welfare costs are out of control, this measure makes sense."

Treasury sources refused to guarantee there will not be more cuts to universal benefits, such as the winter fuel allowance, when the spending review is announced on 20 October. It is expected the government will raise the age at which the allowance can be claimed.
The cap on benefits – likely to raise £300m – is seen as a vote winner but prompted warnings from housing charities of an exodus of the poor from southern inner cities as the 50,000 affected families face benefit cuts worth an average of £93 a week. Shelter said the poor would simply not have the cash to pay high cost rents in the private rented sector.
But Osborne drew applause at the conference for warning the welfare budget had to be brought under control. He said: "If this welfare state is going to gain the trust of the British people, it needs to reflect the British sense of fair play. Unless they have disabilities to cope with, no family should get more from living on benefits that the average family gets from going out to work. If someone believes that living on benefits is a lifestyle choice we need to make them think again."

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Yvette Cooper, said: "Instead of boosting jobs and growth, the government is making families with children pay more.

"We support child benefit for all children and all families. Of course there are difficult choices to make and we need more welfare reform, but it's better to get the economy growing faster and raise more tax from the banks than to cut support for children in middle income families."
The decision on child benefit was defended by senior Lib Dems even though at their conference a fortnight ago they voted to protect child benefit.

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: "Everyone can agree that we need a fairer economy built on higher, better balanced growth. But the spending and benefit cuts will do the opposite – pushing many people into poverty, hitting middle income Britain hard and threatening growth. The language may be different, but the policies are all too reminiscent of the 1980s."


鉅亨網新聞中心 (來源:世華財訊) 2010-10-04 16:34:07.
英國財政大臣奧斯本表示6月22日宣布的緊急預算案已奏效,英經濟已走出危險區域。  綜合媒體10月4日報導,英國財政大臣奧斯本(George Osborne)4日表示英經濟已走出危險區域,6月22日宣布的預算削減措施已顯現出效果。  

他在接受BBC采訪時表示,西班牙上周失去AAA主權評級以及愛爾蘭將可能不得不進一步緊縮財政證明了英國需要迅速采取措施削減預算赤字的必要性。  奧斯本表示6月22日宣布的緊急預算案確保了英國保持AAA評級,而且英國國債利率仍低企。  

奧斯本此前宣布自2013年起,支付稅率為40%的所得稅的父母將不再享有兒童福利。兒童福利曾是英國的一項福利政策,無論是多少收入,父母均能獲得這一補貼。  他表示對於全面福利實施的大規模改革來說,上述決定并非先例,稱“這是個一次性措施。”  (朱啟紅 編譯)


 (英國‧倫敦4日訊)英國智庫新經濟基金會(NEF)今日表示,英國許多銀行明年可能需要新一輪政府救助,每月的借款需求或高達250億英鎊(合1千220億令吉)。  新經濟基金會在英國銀行體系報告中稱,通過研究英格蘭銀行的數據得出結論,英國許多銀行似乎面臨融資困境。  蘇格蘭皇家銀行(RBS)和萊斯銀行(Lloyds)不得不進行部份國有化,因為兩者在信貸危機期間遭遇巨額虧損。巴克萊(Barclays)和匯豐控股(HSBC)等其他銀行也接受過英格蘭銀行提供的低成本信貸。

根據英格蘭銀行的特別流動性計劃(Special Liquidity Scheme)要求,英國銀行業需要在2012年1月最後期限前償還1千850億英鎊的中行借款。  他們還面臨來自巴塞爾協定III的進一步壓力。新的銀行業規定將在2019年1月前逐步實施,將要求銀行持有更多資本金。  巴塞爾III的主要要求是,銀行核心一級資本充足率至少達到7%。許多銀行的一級資本充足率已經高於該水準,但巴塞爾III對一級資本的界定標準更為嚴格。 


然而,評級機構標準普爾(S & P’s)8月表示,若干家英國的銀行業過度依賴由政府擔保或中行提供的大額融資。  新經濟基金會還支持拆分零售銀行和投資銀行業務,這是英國政府下屬的銀行業獨立委員會(Independent Commission on Banking)目前正在評估的選項之一。 星洲日報/財經‧2010.10.04



 中央社台北4日電,英國財政大臣歐斯本(George Osborne)表示,立即降低英國赤字的計畫已讓英國「脫離金融危險區」。





英國《星期日電訊報》引述曾任世界銀行首席經學師和美國克林頓政府顧問的斯蒂格利茨,在其著作《失控的未來 (Freefall)》修訂版中指出,歐洲各國政府相繼採取緊縮開支措施,可能對脆弱的歐洲經濟造成無法逆轉的損害。






http://www.cdnews.com.tw 2010-10-04 11:27:07



 英國公布的報告顯示,第2季經濟成長速度是9年來最快,但在英國政府實行二次大戰以來最大的預算削減規模下,經濟復甦恐停滯。英格蘭銀行副總裁 比恩(Charles Bean)昨天接受Channel 4 News訪問時表示,英格蘭銀行設法使英國經濟恢復到「合理的」活動程度,並鼓勵家庭進行消費。

 CBI首席經濟顧問Ian McCafferty在聲明中表示:「本月商業街銷售表現不錯,成長較零售商預期還好。但是實得薪資前景疲弱,代表2011年消費支出可能會受限。」 



印度現狀仍貌似很虛弱,但它的私人產業其實很強勁。印度的獨特政體和”人口結構紅利(‘demographic  dividend’)”將成為其發展速度超過中國的兩個重要原因。
  德里將在本月3日主辦有72國參加的英聯邦運動會(Commonwealth games),但那裏至今仍是一派亂象:令人尷尬的公廁、爬滿傳播登革熱蚊子的小水坑、倒塌的石雕和懶散的安全制度。這些都讓外人不看好這屆運動會。英國 一些小報由此把英聯邦國家(Commonwealth)戲稱為普遍污濁(Commonfilth)。回想中國2008年幾乎完美地主辦奧運會的情形,再也 沒有比眼前更糟的對比了。由此許多人得出了十分錯誤的結論。
  情況果真如此嗎?雖有媒體嘲弄它,但實際上印度辦事效率相當出色。預計今年其經濟將增長8.5%。儘管它要達到像中國那樣富裕還有很長的路要 走,何況中國經濟規模是它的4倍,但它的經濟增速到2013年後有可能超過中國。甚至有經濟學者認為,印度未來25年經濟的平均增速會比世上任何大國都要 快。
  印度未來的經濟增長可能超過中國的兩大理由如下。其一是勞動力結構變化。中國的勞動力人口不久要開始老化,又因採取獨生子女政 策,勞動人口在未來數年內會萎縮。反觀印度卻不存在此問題。英迪拉-甘地夫人(Indira Gandhi)曾在上世紀70年代嘗試過強制性絕育,但因民間普遍反對而不得不作罷。當前印度的勞動力處在年輕和持續增長狀態。其人口撫養比例也處於世界 各國最好之列,此比例可延續一代人。印度經濟將得益於這種給許多亞洲國家經濟帶來奇跡的”人口結構紅利”。
  然而,僅從外表上是可能看不出問題的實質。印度現在看起來仍很弱,但國內私人產業很強大。無數熱情高漲的印度創業者在推動國內 資本主義發展。當印度自1990年代初廢棄許可證制度,對外資打開大門以來,其工商業得到大力發展。印度對大量發展小企業,並且它們中還有不少擁有國際水 準的管理團隊而感到驕傲。這些企業對政府的依賴要比中國企業少,同時並更有創造性。它們是開創製造最廉價轎車和最低心臟手術費用的先鋒,它們還擁有能更準 確針對消費群體的反應能力。在印度,各種創新想法能迅速傳播,這就是為何像軟體這類以知識為基礎的產業更青睞印度的主要原因。
  印度當前顯現的問題確實令人感到不悅。公共交通就是個喪失顏面的問題。這讓國內許多企業家不得不在擁擠不堪的路上浪費大量時間。企業為保障自己 的基礎設施能力而延緩了發展速度。它們需要自備發電機、水處理設施,甚至還要擁有運送員工上下班的車隊。若新增勞動力失業,印度的”人口結構紅利”也顯現 不出多大價值。隨著針對窮人的價格極低的私人學校不斷增加,印度民眾的受教育程度在增長,但這方面仍落後於中國。
  當在中印兩國間選擇做生意物件時,可能大多數外國人會選擇中國。由於市場龐大,政府也容易打交道,公司股東甚至會對企業供應鏈為何繞過中國提出 質疑。但無論如何,全球經濟正變得越來越傾向於知識型,由此會讓印度的優勢繼續擴大。這也是人們在德里擁擠的旅途中會想到的問題。


2010.10.04 03:29 am
近月國內經 濟利多頻傳,出口迭創佳績、企業投資熱絡、股市漲、房價揚、民間消費信心大增;但另一方面,國內就業情勢依然嚴峻、製造業對未來景氣看法日趨保守、所得分 配持續惡化,因而政府在財經政策上拿捏不易、舉棋不定及政策自相矛盾的情況屢見不鮮。這種現象固然反映與日俱增的國內外經濟變數,但也凸顯出政府未能抓緊 當前經濟的核心問題,以致讓經濟發展隨波逐流,逐漸迷失了方向。



另一方面, 美國聯準會及歐洲央行的量化寬鬆政策導致全球游資愈來愈多,洶湧澎湃的熱錢大量湧入亞洲及其他新興市場,讓各國資產泡沫的風險大幅升高。根據最近美林顧問 公司發表的亞太地區財富報告,2009年台灣富人人數增加42.3%、財富總值增加49.6%,在亞太地區排名第三。在台灣經濟成長創下新低的一年,富人 人數及財富的激增,正反映股票、房地產等資產價格暴漲及不可忽視的資產泡沫風險。


第一,調整 成長策略。在可預見的未來,台灣過於依賴出口及「以大陸為工廠」的經濟成長模式,勢必難以為繼。因此,政府必須下定決心改變經濟成長策略,調整過於依賴資 訊電子產業出口及投資的經濟結構。鑑於台灣與大陸經濟日益緊密的互動及高連動性,政府也須將北京當局楬櫫調整經濟結構及產業升級換代的新經濟戰略規劃,納 為重要考量因素,發展能保有台灣自主性、互利雙贏的兩岸產業分工新模式,以確保台灣經濟能夠健康永續成長,不致依附於大陸經濟。

第二,嚴防 資產泡沫形成。股票、房地產價格大幅上漲,雖有利提振消費與投資,彌補因出口動能可能減緩而出現的成長缺口。但是,資產泡沫化對經濟的巨大傷害遠超過短暫 的利益,歷經美國次貸危機引發金融海嘯的痛苦經驗,政府須嚴防台商資金大量回流及熱錢湧入可能引發的資產泡沫化風險。上周央行升息半碼,對防止資產泡沫有 一定的宣示意義,但採升息手段必須配合擴大匯率彈性,才能有效遏阻熱錢流入。另外,預防資產泡沫不能只靠央行雙率政策,財經相關部會也應有配套作為。若能 降低資產泡沫風險,則貧富差距擴大問題自能舒緩,其遠比課徵奢侈稅、豪宅稅等枝節性政策更有效果。

第三,建立 以「調結構」為核心的整體政策作為。改變成長策略及防杜資產泡沫是調整經濟結構兩大政策支柱,為利「調結構」工程能夠順利推動,包括就業、產業、環保、節 能減碳、租稅及金融改革等各層面政策,都須與「調結構」緊扣在一起,才能收事半功倍之效,並避免政策相互矛盾及效果相互抵銷。



2010.9.28 (18:17)


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