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2.6 million families '£1,600 a year worse off' after benefit changes

Mr Osborne lays bricks in a high-vis jacket after yesterday's Spending Review Credit: PA

Up to 2.6 million working families could be an average of £1,600 worse off a year as a result of benefit changes announced in Chancellor George Osborne's Spending Review, a respected economic think tank has found.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies says the introduction of the new Universal Credit, which consolidates a number of existing benefits, will result in the cut in cash for affected households.

According to The Institute of Fiscal Studies, this means that Chancellor George Osborne's U-turn over cuts to tax credits has effectively only been deferred and will have an impact when the system changes over in April.

But, as ITV News Economics Editor Richard Edgar points out, the IFS say 1.9 million families are likely to be better off under Universal Credit.

The ditching of tax credit cuts means no family will take an "immediate cash hit", the long-term generosity of the welfare system "will be cut just as much as was ever intended, as new claimants will receive significantly lower benefits than they would have done before the July changes," said IFS director Paul Johnson.

Net UK migration on the rise: Key figures

Net UK migration has increased to a record level of 336,000 in the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

New data also reveals:

immigrated for employment in the year to June
people from overseas registered for national insurance numbers in the year ending September.
Romanians and Bulgarians came to the UK in the year to June, a rise of 19,000.
Bulgarians and Romanians now account for more than a fifth of total immigration from the EU.


Black Friday 'could be first UK £1bn online shopping day'

Retailers are gearing up for record Black Friday sales spending. Credit: PA

This year's Black Friday could become the UK's first £1 billion online shopping day, a retail expert has predicted.

Experian-IMRG believes internet spending will hit £1.07 billion, a 32% increase on last year's £810 million.

was the estimated amount spent online by British shoppers in 2014

The Centre for Retail Research expects a slightly more modest £966 million to be spent online on Friday, with shopping over the entire weekend culminating with Cyber Monday to hit £3.49 billion.

Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee backs PM's Syria plan

Crispin Blunt

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Crispin Blunt has backed the Prime Minister's plan for Syria.

David Cameron has set out a seven-point plan for targeting so-called Islamic State.

Mr Blunt was previously sceptical of extending action in Syria but has recently shifted his stance.

The committee has recently been to the region to "gain perspective" on the situation.

He said his personal view is now that the country’s interests would best be served by Britain joining air strikes against Isis.

The committee will discuss its collective view next week.

On balance, the country would be best served by this house supporting his judgement that the UK should play a full role in the coalition to best support and shape the politics thus enabling the earliest military and ideological defeat of Isil.

– Crispin Blunt
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