Struck by the frequency with which I’ve been hearing the phrase “the poor will be hit hardest by …” on news bulletins about government announcements, I did a quick google search on it. This is, admittedly, not a rigorous way of testing the likely outcomes of policy (although it is a plea to journalists to find more original ways of describing it), but it does indicate a trend.
Since the summer it seems “the poor” have been or will be hit hardest by cuts imposed in the spending review, energy price reforms and cuts to council funding (Hackney gets an 8.9% cut , Dorset gets 0.25% rise). Left Foot Forward claims that “child benefit cuts will hit the poor hardest in the long run; inevitably the same can be said for cuts in housing benefit. Andy Burnham argues that the pupil premium will see “poorest schools lose cash” and House of Commons library research agrees.
The dread phrase hasn’t been used to describe cuts to EMA but given what it was set up to do, perhaps journalists felt it was superfluous. If today’s IFS report that government policies will push 200,000 into poverty is right, it looks like this is spot on: