Osborne cut plans attacked

Amid all the speeches being made in the current party conference season, George Osborne's address to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingh…

Amid all the speeches being made in the current party conference season, George Osborne's address to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday may be regarded as among the most important.

As chancellor of the Exchequer, he set out his determination to persist with the course of economic policy followed since the coalition came to power, arguing that deficit reduction must remain the priority and that this, combined with radical reform in other areas, would help deliver a better economy.

However, for those struggling with debt and financial problems there may have been hopes of some new policy announcements of measures to boost the economy.

In the event, many of these were larger structural projects that may have little short-term impact but achieve more in the long term – such as pledges to back the growth of new industries, shale gas exploration and the development of new transport and broadband infrastructure. Some of these are ongoing commitments.

At the same time, some have suggested those struggling with their finances could end up in even more difficulty as a result of Mr Osborne's assertion that reducing the deficit should be mostly about less government spending rather than more tax.

However, the prospect of more welfare reductions has been criticised by Family Action.

Its head of policy and campaigns Rhian Beynon said: "Many families are struggling to make ends meet, heat their homes and put food on the table. Plans to curb child tax credit and below inflation rises in welfare support will put further pressure on family finances which are already in meltdown.

"George Osborne is scraping the barrel for cuts that do not make good economic sense."

So for those who are struggling with their finances, now may be a very good time to seek a debt management plan, as any further cuts in benefits could lead to a further squeeze on income.

By James Francis

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