So, no need for that new money to offset the cuts in Universal Tax Credit. George Osborne left it to the last minute and then deemed that the offset cash was not necessary because he wasn’t going to make the cuts anyway (with it goes the illusion of a better Stormont deal)…
The Chancellor has said that his previously announced cuts to tax credits will not go ahead. The changes would have meant 121,000 Northern Ireland households losing an average of £918 a year.
George Osborne said tax credits were being phased out anyway when the new Universal Credit benefit comes in.
The precise impact of Universal Credit in NI is not yet clear, though previous research indicated it would create equal numbers of winners and losers.
In last week’s Fresh Start deal, Stormont had set aside £240m for tax credit mitigation over the next four years.
That money may now be used to mitigate the impact of other looming benefit cuts.
Ah well, it got the boys and girls through what might have been a tricky week. (Though it is interesting to see that most of the criticism they’ve faced has come from a broad range of parties in the south rather than Northern Ireland).