OLD MOLE’S DIARY
Recently I disclosed the thrilling news that new South Thanet Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay seemed to be in conflict with his own government on the subject of the new “living wage” just announced in the budget.
Just a day or so before the budget, Craig told the local press he was against governments trying to make employers pay higher wages. That kind of thing leads to small companies closing and jobs being lost, he said.
So scenting imminent rebellion and excitedly wondering if the dynamic Craig would be roused enough to storm out of the Tories and return to the party he helped found, UKIP, we contacted the MP and asked if he was at odds with his government.
No, Craig told us: “With regards the new National Living Wage; the proposals are moderate and gradual and have my support. Whilst it is estimated that the proposals will result in 60,000 job losses, improvements across the growing economy will create 1 million more.”
Interestingly, Craig said the budget would be an ESPECIALLY good thing for Thanet .
He said: “The budget is particularly positive for South Thanet. The further increase in the Personal Allowance threshold will take a further 600 people out of tax altogether and reduce personal tax for a further 35,000.”
He added: “Improved pensions, a guarantee of the retention of pensioner benefits and further money for the NHS are also welcomed.”
But overall will Thanet really do well out of this budget?
The charity Barnados doesn’t think so. The charity reckons the chancellor’s plans to cap tax credits this will affect around 20,000 children on the isle and leave 11,000 Thanet families struggling to make ends meet.
Thanet will be disproportionately affected because almost 70 per cent of families in Thanet currently use tax credits to top up low incomes – helping them buy essentials such as food and clothing for the family.
And if you don’t believe Barnados how about the oh-so-respected Institute of Fiscal Studies?
The IFS has totally refuted government claims that the financial punishment dealt out to people on tax credits will be significantly offset by its plan for a new “living wage”.
Thirteen million UK families will lose £260 a year on average because of the budget’s tax and benefits changes, says the institute. And, it calculates, three million families could lose an average of £1,000.
Thanet will have more than its fair share of those families, of course.
But we’re sure Craig will be on hand to tell them that they have to learn to “live within their means.”