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August 2010
Article
New IFS research challenges Chancellor's 'progressive Budget' claim

The Chancellor claimed in his Budget speech that the June 2010 Budget was a 'progressive Budget', backed up by distributional analysis in the Budget documentation that showed that tax and benefit changes due to come into effect between now and 2012-13 will hit the richest more than the poorest. IFS researchers have previously cast doubt on this claim, noting that the main measures which will lead to losses amongst better-off households were announced by the previous government, and that the reforms to be in place by 2014-15 are generally regressive. The distributional analysis in the Budget documents also excluded the effects of some cuts to housing benefit, Disability Living Allowance and tax credits that will tend to hit the bottom half of the income distribution more than the top half.

IFS research published today makes use of analysis published by the Department for Work and Pensions since the Budget, and attempts to reflect the impact of all the benefit cuts announced in the Budget. It shows that, once all of the benefit cuts are considered, the tax and benefit changes announced in the emergency Budget are clearly regressive as, on average, they hit the poorest households more than those in the upper-middle of the income distribution in cash, let alone percentage, terms.

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