People have been scratching their heads ever since about those numbers as they imply an average loss of £1,000 per household. But the minimum loss should be £1,000.
It appears what happened is that HM Treasury accidentally gave us numbers for a different scenario: removing higher rate taxpayers from child benefit AND bringing down the qualifying age for CB from 19 to 16 – 1.2m is the number of higher rate taxpayers claiming CB with children aged over 16.
They were obviously modelling both changes being brought in simultaneously and, as of 2 days ago, I’m told, still were. But then I’ve also been told there’s been a “wobble” on CB coming down to 16.
By the way, when the main document comes out tomorrow, you may notice it says “Spending Review” not “Comprehensive Spending Review.” You may also notice that it is a lot slimmer than, say, the last CSR document in 2007.
That slimmed-down look echoes the June 2010 Budget – George Osborne thinks Gordon Brown’s chunkier documents were packed with propaganda and puff. The dropping of the “CSR” label, (though everyone, including cabinet ministers have failed to notice it,) is another stylistic flick of the tail against Gordon Brown.
Chancellor Brown brought in CSRs in 1997 replacing what had been known more mundanely as “Public Expenditure Rounds”.
Just shows how difficult it is to change a term when it’s buried in the political consciousness.
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