The Con-Lib coalition have been exceptionally busy over the past month in creating new legislation and implementing policies that they have always held dear. Some of these legal changes have had profound impacts upon many people in our society; indeed, some others have managed to raise the hackles on all of our backs, as we struggle to comprehend from where we are going to be able to find even more money to bail our country out.
There are many people who believe that whichever party assumed the position of our newest government, they would have been forced to tighten the reins of this country’s economy in a way that was never going to prove to be popular.
One of the first legal changes to be implemented by the new coalition government was already discussed last month: the abolition of the Home Information Packs (HIPs). Whilst a welcome relief to people looking to sell their property, this radical and snappy decision has had a big impact on the many businesses that had been created in recognition of the need for this obligatory service to house vendors.
It is only more recently that the full extent of the new government’s plans are really starting to materialize, especially as a result of the emergency budget that was put to the country on Tuesday 22 June 2010. To be fair, this budget was not any worse than we had all been warned beforehand. It went without saying that VAT was likely to rise, and with figures like 25% having been mentioned, quite a few of us were probably relieved when the rate only went up by 2.5%, to 20%. Furthermore, there is another glimmer of light with this increase too, as this rate will not come into effect until the 4 January 2011.
The budget also seemed to target those people who worked in the public sector, as a salary freeze was declared on any individual who earns more than £21,000 per year, for the next two years. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, held his hands up in admission that this equates to a pay cut in real terms, and the media have deliberated considerably over the fact that this was a deliberate attempt, on behalf of the Tories, to readjust the excessive number of people working within the public sector that had continued to increase during the Labour administration.
Next, and probably one of the most controversial decisions, is the fact that Child Tax Credits were to no longer be made available to families that had a combined household income of up to £50,000. Instead, this relief would only be available to households where the annual income was up to £30,000. This adjustment in figures is likely to include a significant percentage of all of the families in the country, and therefore we can conclude that this will represent a loss of income for many people. People with a combined income of £50,000 per year would have been entitled to Child Tax Credits equating to £545 annually, under the previous rules.
Next to receive the axe was retirement age. The media are already stating that this and all subsequent governments are going to insist on us working until we drop, and the increase of age, to 66 from 2016, really will be just a drop in the ocean when it eventually comes time for us to draw our pension.
There is no doubt that I am going to be very busy indeed over the coming months in trying to keep up with all of the legal changes. I will, of course, endeavour to report everything back as soon as it comes to light.