Tax credit cuts have only been postponed – all the more reason to oppose them.

Iain Macwhirter

U-TURN if you want to, the Chancellor is for turning. There are many lessons from last week’s epic policy reversal by George Osborne on tax credits, but the most important is that civic action and intelligent opposition can force important concessions, even from this most right-wing of Conservative governments. If the arguments are right, ministers have to listen.

This was a humiliating U-turn on a measure announced in the Budget only five months ago as central to Osborne’s “long-term economic plan”. Not axing tax credits has punched a £4.4bn hole in the Chancellor’s welfare programme and made him breach his own statutory cap on welfare this year.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Resolution Foundation probably deserve the greatest credit here. It was the IFS that initially called foul on the statistics used by the Chancellor and the Treasury to justify the April tax credit cuts. The widely…

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