We seem to be harking back to a time when we thought teenage girls had babies to get council flats. Unlike me, the Chancellor has obviously never pushed out a 10lb 10oz baby and endured 15 odd stitches. Let me tell you it would take a lot more than an extra £25 quid a week to make me do that again. I think I'd turn down a Euromillions windfall in fact!
Today George Osborne sets out his first budget as Chancellor in a majority Conservative Government. Talk is cheap - now is the time to put to the test his claim that the Tory party can really be the party of working people. After all the extensive briefing, it's not looking good for George Osborne's claims for his Party... For all the rhetoric, too many of the Tories' policies remain anti-working people. A real agenda for working people today based on Labour values would mean not just the long overdue increases in the minimum wage, but strong incentives for the living wage, continued support for tax credits, a plan for a childcare revolution to support working parents.
As the Budget approaches we await the details of deep cuts in welfare spending, but the fact that they are coming is beyond doubt. Every sinew is being strained in the cause of deficit reduction. Or is it? Largely absent from public debate to date is the more than £100billion that goes each year into tax reliefs - lower taxes for particular groups or activities.
Tory guru Steve Hilton has had a revelation: low pay causes poverty. From one Steve to another, welcome to the real world. But as your party is about to unveil its first full blue-blooded Tory Budget in 19 years you need to think a bit more about what - and who - drives poverty in this country... The scale of cuts - the deepest yet to our public services and benefits - will hit all but the very wealthiest. Women, the disabled, the low-waged, those not in work, those who need help with ever-spiralling housing costs and children will not be spared.
Increasing take home pay enables state support to fall back, making it the key to reducing the cost of in-work support to low earning families (whether through tax credits or under Universal Credit). But reducing in-work support without increasing take home pay first will simply result in low earning working families falling even further short of a decent living standard.
Dear American Citizen, I write from the other side of the Atlantic. Our homelands are separated by a vast, malevolent body of water. Thousands of miles stand between us, yet still we share so many things, music, theatre, fashion, culture, history, high street stores and banking ties, and much more. Our military train together, and politicians lean on each other. We really aren't that different.
Reverse the Tory trend towards equalising corporate tax rates for small and big businesses, push rates back up for large companies and lower them for smaller ones, and slash VAT to boost the high street. It's time to move to a basic principle of a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. It's time for a mandatory living wage.
The report from the TUC tells us that four in five of the jobs created over the last three years are in low paying sectors. Indeed, retail and residential care have been the two biggest contributors of new jobs. Now, it's important to note that not all of these jobs will be low paying but the chances are the majority of them will be. This is bad news.