Even George Osborne’s staunchest critics couldn’t help but admire the political genius of yesterday’s Budget. Osborne announced key measures that were straight out of the Labour Manifesto, including headline policies of a new Living Wage and a crackdown on Non-Doms. His political mastery came by announcing the Living Wage, whilst cutting in-work Tax Credits, which will most likely have a zero-sum impact on take-home pay for low-paid workers.
The Tory Press have lauded the introduction of the Living Wage as a milestone for low-paid workers. Whilst critics have lambasted the changes to tax credits, meaning that the Living Wage isn’t a “Living Wage” after all. Pressure groups should continue to campaign for those at risk and the impact of these changes.
However, the Labour Party has fallen straight into George Osborne’s political trap. Two so-called “front-runners” and “Blairite” candidates for the Leadership have clearly missed the point of this trap.
— Liz Kendall (@leicesterliz) July 8, 2015
National Living Wage will force 1000s of under-25s onto zero-hours contracts without tax credits to soften blow. Boom time for food banks.
— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) July 9, 2015
The Tory spinners will lambast Labour for attacking the Living Wage, a policy which they campaigned for (at a lower rate) in May. The Tories have given the nation a pay-rise and if Labour want to gain any political capital they cannot attack this policy.
The attack line has to be solely on the changes to tax credits and where the Tories have chipped away at people’s incomes – not at the Living Wage.
It may be a very subtle point, but it will speak volumes with electorate.
Labour candidates and supporters seemingly once again need reminding that there are voters outside of the “Westminster Bubble” and the “Twitter Echo-Chamber”