News round-up 15/6: Osborne announces loans for banks
Your daily media round up of all the key stories affecting local government
Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans for a £100bn support programme for the British economy as he “battened down the hatches”, in the words of the Financial Times. Mr Osborne told a City audience last night that he was working with Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King to offer an “aggressive” monetary policy, offering cheaper loans to businesses and households. Mr Osborne also rejected calls for a “Plan B” to stimulate the economy, arguing that credibility was “hard won and hard lost”.
The Daily Telegraph reports that capping housing benefit “has not driven poorer people out of areas like London but has prompted many claimants to look for jobs,” according to a study of the scheme. It says research on the early effects of the housing benefit cap showed it had brought down the cost of rent but it had also caused families on housing benefit to face “widespread reluctance from landlords to take them on.”
Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith has “hinted” that wealthy pensioners could lose universal benefits such as winter fuel payments and free bus passes, the Daily Telegraph reports. The work and pensions secretary said a “debate” was taking place in the government about whether there should be means tests for some pensioner benefits.
The Financial Times reports that Mr Duncan Smith has called for new ways of measuring poverty, after official figures showed the largest one-year drop in middle incomes since 1981. The government’s poverty line is linked to median income, so as the average salary has declined there are fewer considered below the breadline, even though low income households have also experienced a drop in their living standards.
Generations of white working-class boys are being “consigned to the scrapheap” because of an “anti-school culture” in deprived areas, according to the head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Sir Michael said the watchdog would hold an inquiry aimed at tackling the gulf between rich and poor pupils in the English education system.