The devil could be in the detail, but the bigger picture is still bright for the Chancellorby Ryan Shorthouse / November 26, 2015 / Leave a comment
They call him Octopus Osborne. For his tentacles reach into other government departments, his protégées in key positions across Whitehall. Yesterday, in the Autumn Statement, we also saw the Chancellor sprawl across a vast public policy space. There was something for mental health, roads, science, childcare, women’s charities, museums, even tax credit claimants. Something for everyone. All in it together.
Clever politics indeed. Nearly all the bases are covered, muting critics and quashing Labour leads. Jeremy Corbyn, upon becoming Leader of the Opposition, showed that one of his key and unique priorities would be mental health, appointing a new Shadow Cabinet level Minister for Mental Health. Well, yesterday, the Chancellor announced an extra £600m for mental health services.
Déjà vu. Ed Miliband wanted a higher minimum wage of £8 per hour by 2020. So Osborne went on to promise the “National Living Wage,” at £9 per hour. At the last election, Labour wanted to make companies train an apprentice for every foreigner they hired. Yesterday, the Chancellor announced a 0.5 per cent “apprenticeship levy” on the wage bill of large employers.