How the Spending Review hit the poorest hardest

The poorest 10 per cent suffered the greatest loss of income from the Chancellor’s decisions.

NB: The green line on the graph is the one to watch.

Once again, George Osborne audaciously declared that those "with the most should pay the most". But turn to page 98 of the Spending Review document and the picture becomes rather more complicated.

The Treasury graph below shows that, as a percentage of net income, the poorest 10 per cent pay more than every other group, with the exception of the richest 10 per cent. Osborne's claim that those on the highest incomes will pay more, not just in cash terms (a less progressive measure), but also as a proportion of their income is therefore wrong.

If you strip out the pre-announced measures from the Budget (the black line), the graph shows that the poorest 10 per cent have actually lost the most from the Spending Review. The overall effect of the measures announced today is therefore clearly regressive.

Don't forget, too, that the poorest, who have to carefully balance food and heating costs, can afford such losses far less than the richest.

Graph

One expects the Institute for Fiscal Studies will have a lot more to say about this over the next 48 hours.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

A second referendum? Photo: Getty
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Will there be a second EU referendum? Petition passes 1.75 million signatures

Updated: An official petition for a second EU referendum has passed 1.75m signatures - but does it have any chance of happening?

A petition calling for another EU referendum has passed 1.75 million signatures

"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum," the petition reads. Overall, the turnout in the EU referendum on 23 June was 73 per cent, and 51.8 per cent of voters went for Leave.

The petition has been so popular it briefly crashed the government website, and is now the biggest petition in the site's history.

After 10,000 signatures, the government has to respond to an official petition. After 100,000 signatures, it must be considered for a debate in parliament. 

Nigel Farage has previously said he would have asked for a second referendum based on a 52-48 result in favour of Remain.

However, what the petition is asking for would be, in effect, for Britain to stay as a member of the EU. Turnout of 75 per cent is far higher than recent general elections, and a margin of victory of 20 points is also ambitious. In the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, the split was 55-45 in favour of remaining in the union. 

Unfortunately for those dismayed by the referendum result, even if the petition is debated in parliament, there will be no vote and it will have no legal weight. 

Another petition has been set up for London to declare independence, which has attracted 130,000 signatures.