Coffee House

Two versions of Osborne’s benefits speech

2 April 2013

The Times’ Sam Coates picked up on a couple of discrepancies between the text of George Osborne’s Morrisons speech sent out by CCHQ, and the one published by the Treasury. Here’s the CCHQ text:

‘In 2010 alone, payments to working age families cost £75 billion. That means about one in every seven pounds of tax that working people like you pay was going on working age benefits.’

But the Treasury version reads:

‘In 2010 alone, payments to working age families cost £90 billion. That means about one in every six pounds of tax that working people like you pay was going on working age benefits.’


Osborne actually delivered the Treasury version, and that does seem to be the more accurate one. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ Green Budget, spending on working-age benefits and tax credits — in 2012-13 prices — totalled £98 billion in 2009-10 and £100 billion in 2010-11. In cash terms, that works out at £92 billion and £97 billion respectively.

And according to the Treasury’s figures, public sector current receipts were £513 billion in 2009-10, meaning that about £1 in every £5.50 was spent on working-age benefits. In 2010-11, receipts were £551 billion, so it was £1 in every £5.70. If you look at just tax and national insurance receipts, working-age benefit spending works out at more like £1 in every £5.30.

It seems CCHQ sent out the text as it appeared before Osborne’s fact-checkers got to work.

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  • rhys

    WHEN will the benefits madness [ the absolute root cause of the slaughter of the Philpitt children amongst other grotesqueries ] be stopped ???????

    Blair had a majority with which he could have done anything in 1997 but he sacked Frank Field ( who might have tried ) within a year because of some cabinet row shananigans between him and Brown. So much for the Aylesbury Estate speech.

    There should be no benefits whatever – zero – for anyone, British or foreign, who has not worked and contributed tax and NI for at least 10 yrs following leaving school. Nothing. The nonsense of giving teenage girls houses and flats as a reward for getting pregnant should also cease. Does it happen anywhere else in the world ? I think not.

    And neither could anything like what went on in the Philpott household ( and would be continuing unchecked if in fact those poor children had been rescued ) happen anywhere else in the world, not in the poorest parts of Africa or Asia.

    If the policy i advocate ( nothing until 10 yrs of working and contributing following school) leads to hardship in individual cases the Bishops can look after such individuals in their palaces.

    Shame on the conspiracy of mediocrity ( people like Cameron, Clegg and Milliband – who also have never worked ) which governs our country.

    It is a mathematical certainty that with the air and seaport gates wide open to the billion or more people in the world who wish to come here that the system will collapse at some point.

  • Abbey Lane

    So he delivered his speech but failed to mention increasing the minimum wage, or cutting the gigantic spend on Foregin Aid……. interesting.

  • George_Arseborne

    The point is Osborne is just a moron that specialises in telling lies

    • Hookeslaw

      Rapid rebuttal rapidly running out of steam.
      Should be called rabid rebuttal.

  • Thatcherite Lee

    So he delivered the copy with the correct figures, what’s the problem?

    • telemachus

      the actual problem is that he delivered either

      • Hookeslaw

        Your problem is being stuffed when faced with the facts

    • Hookeslaw

      Agreed. yet another example of our wonderful freedom loving free press peddling its own agenda.
      What a total wast of space to to put some negative spin on the treasury successfully steering its way through the minefield of statistics.

  • Russell

    So what Mr Jones? This is really scrabbling about for anything to criticise the Tories/Osborne and very poor.

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