David Cameron was wrong and misleading

Ben Chu

There was a dispute about numbers at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

Ed Miliband said:

“The Institute for Fiscal Studies table says quite clearly that, on average, working families are £534 a year worse off as a result of his measures.”

David Cameron replied:

“He mentioned the figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, but they do not include the personal allowance increase put through in the Budget, and they do not include the universal credit changes that come in next year and which will help the working poor more than anything.”

Here’s the relevant IFS table:

IFS 300x207 David Cameron was wrong and misleading

As readers can see, it does include the impact of the Universal Credit. So the Prime Minister was simply wrong on that point.

And on his first point, about the IFS not including the impact of the tax free personal income tax allowance increase in the Budget from March, he was being deliberately misleading.

The £534 figure refers to the amount that an average couple with children and 1 earner will be worse off as a result of all the measures in the Autumn Statement (£11 a week).

If Mr Cameron wants to throw in the personal allowance increases then it’s surely fair to throw in all the other tax and benefit reforms by the Coalition too.

What the IFS chart shows is that including everything the Government has done will leave a couple with children and 1 earner worse off by 2015 by £65 a week, or around £3,300 a year.

In other words, contrary to the impression given by the Prime Minister, the financial position of these families looks considerably worse, not better.

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