Clegg insists Budget cuts are fair
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insists the Government is committed to fairness despite a respected economic think tank concluding the Budget hit the poorest hardest.
Mr Clegg said the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis was "partial" and did not account for efforts to get people off benefits and into work or future plans to make the tax system fairer.
The IFS study found that the poorest six-tenths of households lost more in cash terms as a result of the Budget's tax and welfare changes than wealthier households in all but the richest 10%.
But Mr Clegg said: "This IFS analysis is by definition partial.
"It does not include the things we want to do to get people off benefits and into work.
"If you just look at who is receiving benefits then in a sense you don't ask the most important question of all, which is how you can relieve poverty and make Britain fairer by getting people off benefits and into work."
Mr Clegg said the Government's plans also included a pupil premium to improve the education opportunities for poorer children and further changes to the tax system.
"That is a plan for real fairness, that is progressive. And I think that is a richer understanding of what fairness is about than a single snapshot that simply doesn't provide the full picture of what we are trying to do over the coming months and years," he said.
The report said Chancellor George Osborne's tax and benefit changes between June 2010 and April 2014 will cost the poorest 10% of households £422.83 a year.
But those in the second richest 10% would only find themselves £339.12 worse off.