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Spending Review: 2.6 million families 'will be £1,600 a year worse off' after benefit changes

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, according to independent economic experts.

Despite Mr Osborne's decision to scrap proposed cuts to tax credits due to come in next April, 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.

The IFS also says Mr Osborne was "lucky" to receive a £27 billion windfall which allowed him to perform his U-turn on tax credits, adding the Chancellor will "need his luck to hold out" if he is to meet his target of a surplus by 2019/20 without raising taxes or imposing further spending reductions.

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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."

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