The foreword to the coalition’s mid-term review could have been written in the early 1970s. Perhaps this is not surprising. Policymaking tends to lack a sharp edge in coalition. Compromises must be made, and this can lead to bad decisions. Changes to student fees are a prime example. Most students will pay a lot more for their education, but the government will save very little money because of the complex system of subsidies that has been introduced to buy-off the Liberal Democrats.
But it’s not clear whether the Conservatives would have done better alone. Changes to child benefits, introduced yesterday, were their decision and they’re a shambles. There is a clear case for abolishing child benefit and using the £12.5bn in savings to create a system of transferable tax allowances to lift families out of tax. Instead, the government has bottled it and played around at the edges. Its reforms create huge