George Osborne will announce ‘grim’ benefit cuts in tomorrow’s summer budget – the first budget for the new Conservative government – according to a Manchester University professor.
The biggest claim that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made in recent days concerns promises of a £12billion cut to the welfare budget.
MM spoke to Professor Diane Coyle from the University of Manchester, who is an experienced commentator and author and former Economics Editor at The Independent, about how she sees the budget shaping up.
Professor Coyle said: “The big question for him right now is where is going to find the £12billion? There is the probability of cuts to housing benefits and disability benefits.
“Anybody in areas which may be affected by the cuts are sure to be feeling a bit grim about how it will affect them.”
She believes that the government will stick to their promise to not raise the VAT, further theorising that they will not raise income tax or national insurance.
The BBC has been asked to cut their budget by one fifth – cuts which they will have to make on their own.
The professor, who is also former vice chairman of the BBC Trust, stated at any cuts to the BBC will have to come from programming.
“They cannot find that through efficiency or workforce cuts, especially as they have been making efficiency cuts for several years, it must come from programming.”
She also speculated that the budget will concern how Osborne plans to maintain economic growth, which has been steadily rising for the last few years, stating that it will be ‘interesting’ to see how he plans to increase the pace of growth.
When questioned about the NHS, Coyle stated that she believes the budget is not the right time for the NHS to be discussed, postulating that no announcement will be made on whether it will be privatised.
Image courtesy of HM Treasury, with thanks.