Pressure on Blair over pounds 100,000 benefit cut-off - News - The Independent

Pressure on Blair over pounds 100,000 benefit cut-off

Tony Blair is coming under growing pressure to spell out his tax and spending plans as he refused to say whether or not those on pounds 100,000 a year would lose from Labour's child benefit changes. In a separate development he could face a pounds 1bn bill to buy-off a conference revolt on pensions.

It emerged yesterday that the Labour leader and Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, had discussed a figure of pounds 100,000 a year as the income above which people with children aged between 16 and 18 would lose child benefit. But they rejected the idea of naming a figure because it would invite questions about their plans for income tax.

Mr Brown said last week that Labour would make the "relevant financial decisions" on taxes, benefits and public spending "after the Conservative Budget [in November] and in our manifesto".

But, as Labour delegates prepare to gather in Blackpool this weekend, Mr Brown now faces a bill for up to pounds 1bn a year as the price of heading off a rebellion on pensions.

Baroness Castle has proposed restoring Labour's historic policy, abandoned since the last election, of linking the value of the state pension to average earnings. But Harriet Harman, Labour's social security spokeswoman, is today writing to union leaders to plead with them not to back the plan. Ms Harman warns the unions, which still hold 50 per cent of conference votes, that Lady Castle's plan would be paid for out of the pounds 3.5bn state subsidy to company pension funds, which could cost union members pounds 550 a year.

Ms Harman told GMTV: "I am confident that the Labour Party conference will agree that the first priority of a Labour government and a Labour social security secretary of state must be the poorest pensioners."

She stressed Labour's objective of all pensioners getting the social security benefits to which they are already entitled. But that could need up to pounds 1.26bn a year more in income support, housing benefit and help with council tax, according to the Department of Social Security .

"It's not a spending commitment. It's what they are already entitled to," a spokeswoman for Ms Harman said.

But the money would have to be found from somewhere, which could disrupt Labour's tax plans, now close to being finalised. It is clear that Labour would not seek to reverse any tax cuts made in November by Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, and that National Insurance will not be imposed on earnings above pounds 33,660 a year. The current starting point of the 40p-in-the-pound top rate of income tax, about pounds 30,000 a year, is likely to stay.

What is not yet finally decided is whether a new 50p tax rate will be imposed on incomes over about pounds 100,000 a year and whether a new starting rate of 15p on the first slice of taxed earnings will be proposed, or simply offered as an aspiration.

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science Teacher required for a lovely Ramsgate Secondary School

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...

SEN Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher loo...

Teacher

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Year 2 Teacher and Group Lead

£110 - £125 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week