By Ray Fleming

IMMEDIATELY after George Osborne presented the Lib-Con coalition's emergency budget on 22 June his claim that its proposals were fair and “progressive” have been challenged in many quarters and with most effect by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which has a high reputation for independent analysis of government tax measures. However, Mr Osborne has continued to insist that “people at the bottom of the scale will pay proportionately less than people at the top...the richest paying the most and the vulnerable protected”.

Yesterday the IFS reported on the full analysis it has now completed of Mr Osborne's tax proposals which confirms its earlier assessment although with much greater detail to support its conclusion. It says: “The tax and benefit changes 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.”

The IFS's estimate is that by 2014 the poorest 10 per cent of families with children will lose approximately five per cent of their income while the richest 10 per cent will lose only one per cent Even an economic illiterate can see that those figures do not sustain Mr Osborne's “proportionate” claim. The IFS findings are in line with many other assessments that have led to doubts about the Lib-Con coalition's budget and Mr Cameron's insistence that “we are all in this together”.

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