The result of Gordon Brown’s upheaval was a system that offered better work incentives at a lower cost and with greater simplicity.
The usually impeccable reasoning of Jonathan Portes of the NIESR doesn’t wash here. It makes no more sense to say that means-testing Winter Fuel Payments must imply means-testing of the Basic State Pension, than it does to argue that the universal Basic State Pension implies that the Pension Credit top up benefit must be made universal, at impossible expense.
Wednesday’s growth figures were as bad as anyone could have anticipated. And while there’s a good chance that they’ll change – the recession could yet be revised away – none of this alters the fact that the UK economy is in the doldrums. Being economically becalmed is bad enough, but we’re even slipping into a recession without a meltdown in the Eurozone.
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