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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.

George Osborne: Tax credits U-turn not a sign of weakness

George Osborne has said that his tax credit U-turn in the Autumn Statement wasn't a sign of weakness, and he had been able to "help families" because the economy was in a much better place than anticipated.

"I don't think it's a weakness, if you are doing this job, to listen to people and listen to the concerns that are made," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

Shadow Chancellor defends Chairman Mao stunt

The Shadow Chancellor has defended quoting Chinese communist dictator Chairman Mao during his response to the Government's Autumn Statement yesterday by saying "It's time to bring a bit of flamboyance and humour" to politics.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain programme, John McDonnell said:

"It was a self-deprecating joke if anything. And I was trying to draw attention to the fact - with a bit of irony - that what George Osborne is actually doing is selling off British assets to the Chinese People's Republic.

....In the House of Commons people get a bit pompous and it's time to bring a bit of flamboyance and humour and into our politics."

Spending Review: Osborne's '£27bn windfall may never arrive'

The Chancellor's anticipated £27 billion windfall that allowed him to balance his Autumn Statement and Spending Review may never arrive, a group of experts have warned.

George Osborne used the proceeds of a surprise improvement in forecast tax receipts and low debt-interest rates to protect police budgets and bankroll a U-turn over tax credit cuts.

But independent economic think tank the Institute of Fiscal Studies, ahead of detailed analysis to be released today, warned that there was only a "50-50" chance of the revenue forecasts remaining as positive for Mr Osborne. Speaking to the BBC, director Paul Johnson said:

The risk for him, and this must be at least a 50-50 risk, is that the next time round, or the time after, or the time after, these tax revenue forecasts will look less rosy.

– Paul Johnson, Institute of Fiscal Studies


Council tax surcharge could raise £2bn for social care

Under the Spending Review, councils now have the power to collect a 2% surcharge to put towards the cost of adult social care.

The Chancellor George Osborne says this could raise up to £2 billion but those in the care industry say that is not enough to keep them in business.

Spending Review: No avoiding huge cuts, council warn

Local councils are warning that huge cuts to their budgets will leave them with no choice but to make swingeing cuts to the services they offer - despite being given greater fundraising powers by the Chancellor.

George Osborne argues that, despite the reductions in their budgets, local authorities can now keep money from business rates, sell off property to raise cash and hike council tax to boost adult social care.

ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks went to Oxfordshire County Council - recently berated by David Cameron for cuts to its services - to see the impact today's Spending Review had on them:

Tory tax credit U-turn welcomed but some fear future cuts

The Chancellor's U-turn over tax credits has been welcomed by some of the millions of people across Britain who rely on them to make ends meet.

But it is claimed the effects of Osborne's decision will be felt by those on benefits for years to come.

ITV News Political Correspondent Emily Morgan reports:

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