Top MPs angry at Osborne’s Budget leaks

Tim Wallace
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AN INFLUENTIAL group of MPs hit out at George Osborne’s handling of the budget today, accusing him of basing the 50p tax change on “highly uncertain” figures, adding extra complexity around the child benefit regime and failing to stop leaks.

Citing the highly uncertain impact of the 50p tax, the Treasury Select Committee called for “a comprehensive assessment of the effect on the exchequer of the new 45p rate.”

Changes to the child benefit system may also prove unsatisfactory, the report warned.

The removal of benefits from those earning over £60,000, and sliding scale below that will cost £100m in HMRC staffing costs and £8m in IT spending, it found, while failing to take benefits away from some high-earning families.

The enormous level of pre-Budget leaking was strongly criticised, with claims the chancellor’s behaviour has “further eroded” trust in politics.

In particular, it firmly rejected George Osborne’s claims that the nature of coalition politics meant leaks were more likely, and called for the government to “review its practices ... for preserving budget confidentiality.”