MOST papers focus on the chancellor’s plans to slash the welfare budget, primarily Tax Credits, and the compulsory, but tapered, rise in the National Living Wage.
The Financial Times highlights Osborne’s call to slash £12bn of benefits from the poor who work in a bid to end the UK’s high-welfare, low-wage economy. It said “the Budget was far from the right-wing statement that some had expected from a chancellor unshackled after five years in cohabitation with the Liberal Democrats, as he struck a path to the political centre”.
The Daily Mail’s front page mocked-up the chancellor as St George with the headline “Fearless George slays the dragons”. In “one of the most radical Budget’s in years”, the former Bullingdon Club boy “stunned the left” by bringing in a £9-an-hour minimum wage saying Britain “deserves a pay rise”.
The Independent charts how George Osborne – in the first Conservative Budget since 1996 – has delivered a “headline-grabbing package of policies”, including “an audacious raid on Labour’s territory”.
It said it was a “dramatic and effective display by a Chancellor with leadership ambitions”. It posed the question, “but is there less to his fiscal largesse than meets the eye?”.
The Guardian ran with the headline “The chancellor giveth… and he taketh away”. The paper outlines how Osborne saved his living wage surprise to last, but expressed “dismay” at his decision to curb tax credits. It believes Osborne sought to “outflank Labour” with the 30% hike rise in the minimum wage, which was a much bigger rise in the minimum wage than Labour was promising at the general election.
The Daily Mirror says Osborne has “stepped up the Tory war on the poor with a Budget that slashes benefits, caps public sector pay rises and gives further tax breaks to the rich. The paper highlights how “Osborne says UK is getting pay rise but millions will be worse off”.
Britain’s biggest-selling title, The Sun, says the chancellor has reshaped the welfare system and “liberated working Britain through a series of income tax cuts and enforced pay hikes” while putting the “brakes on benefits dependency”.
It said: “It wasn’t so much his ‘pay rise’ for Britain. It was his shifting of the national mind-set away from decades of welfare dependency and towards ambition and hard work.”
Meanwhile, The Times, leads with the line how Osborne has struck a “new settlement” with Britain, compelling companies to pay higher wages to ease the pain of the huge cuts to working families’ benefits.
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