Budget 2015 – analysis: Has George Osborne stolen the money for Labour's tuition fee cut?

The pot of money Labour put aside to pay for reducing fees to £6,000 has been raided by the chancellor

Matt Dathan
Wednesday 18 March 2015 17:32
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Osborne’s move on pensions tax relief will force Labour back to the drawing board
Osborne’s move on pensions tax relief will force Labour back to the drawing board

In a highly political Budget designed to paint Labour’s plan to cut the deficit as chaotic, the chancellor announced he was cutting pension tax relief, a move that will save the taxpayer £600 million by 2020.

Mr Osborne said reducing the lifetime allowance for pensions tax relief to £1 million will help towards cutting the deficit.

But Labour has unveiled plans to use the same measure to pay for its cut in tuition fees. The party will raise more than Mr Osborne outlined - £2 billion in total – by also reducing tax relief on pensions for those earning more than £150,000 per year.

Mr Osborne’s highly astute move will force Ed Balls and his shadow Treasury team back to the drawing board as they work out how they will make up the extra £600 million.

It already took them more than three years to find a way of funding Mr Miliband’s 2011 announcement that a Labour government would reverse the coalition’s highly controversial decision to raise tuition fees to £9,000.

They now have less than eight weeks to find the money.

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