Conservative Diary

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The Tory Day Two attack on the Pre-Budget Report focuses on NHS cuts and a cynical (temporary) increase in benefits

George Osborne on Marr 2 Last night we noted the new poster the party has unveiled, depicting the PBR as an attack on anyone earning over £20,000.

This morning George Osborne has gone on the offensive on two fronts.

Firstly, he is suggesting that while the Government is talking about protecting NHS spending, we will actually see a real cut in NHS spending. The reason for this is that since the NHS employs so many people, it will take a £446 million hit from the increase in employers' National Insurance contributions.

It has also emerged that while Alistair Darling has announced a 1.5% rise in certain benefits next year - i.e. just before an expected May election - his plan sees those same benefits cut the following year. Mr Osborne has described the temporary rise as "desperately cynical".

Interviewed on the Today Programme earlier, the Shadow Chancellor again attacked the rise in National Insurance as an "additional tax on jobs". He said that he was not yet in a position to promise to reverse it, but that this was the measure he would most wanted to avoid implementing.

Jonathan Isaby


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