JRF responds to George Osborne’s speech

Responding to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today, Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

"We welcome the move towards a higher-pay economy with lower need for welfare, which has the potential to improve living standards for those on low-incomes and take pressure off the public purse.

"As well as helping business and driving productivity, the Commission has the potential to make sure those on low-incomes have increased access to better jobs.

"Giving local Government more control over business rates will give the budgets of Councils in some parts of the country a much-needed boost. But we are concerned about what this could mean for weaker local economies that raise less through business rates. Local Government must have the tools they need to boost businesses and the assurance of regular reviews, or this plan risks compounding problems in some of the poorest places.

"Introducing tax credit reductions so quickly before the National Living Wage has the chance to fill the gap will leave low-income, working families struggling. Tax credit changes should be phased in to ease the pain some families will feel when the reductions are introduced from April."