The BBC’s lead political story today (Sunday) is George 0sborne’s announcement of a £2 billion boost for the English NHS, to get it through the winter crisis period. The Boy, looking much healthier than he did on Wednesday, wanted us to believe the money was available because the economy is strong.
Take a look at the graph (above). Income tax has not increased by even a fraction of a percentage point since he became Chancellor and in fact takings have been lower than in 2008 for much of his period in office.
Corporation tax is lagging well behind its 2008 figure, and in a “strong” economy, this must be because Gideon has cut it in order to help his rich business friends (by which we mean donors to the Conservative Party) get richer.
VAT receipts are up. You’ll remember of course that Mr Zero’s pal David Cameron spent the entire 2010 election campaign promising not to increase the rate of VAT, and almost the first thing he did when he achieved office was – of course – increase the rate of VAT. That is why VAT income has increased.
He doesn’t have the money. He said it was available due to the strength of the economy and economic indicators are instead showing weakness.
According to BBC political correspondent Louise Stewart, the money is – in fact – nothing to do with the strength of the economy. “Of the £2bn, around £1.3bn of it is new money,” she wrote, inaccurately. “The Treasury said it would be found from savings in other government departments.” Not new money, then. “The remaining £700m will come from the existing Department of Health budget and will be put into front line.”
Have you spotted the problem with that? The national deficit is increasing at this time. Government departments are not making savings; they are overspending. They will not have the money to spare. And 0sborne seems to be asking us to count money that is in the existing health budget twice.
This is unfunded spending. Imagine the uproar if a Labour government had announced it!
Here’s an interesting snippet, from the BBC News report: “The Conservatives’ coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, had called for an emergency injection of £1.5bn and a party spokesman said they had ‘fought to make sure that extra funding for the NHS next year is in the Autumn Statement’.” So it seems Mr 0sborne would not have put up any money at all if not for the Liberal Democrats forcing his hand.
Perhaps we should be blaming Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander for making unfunded spending commitment and George 0sborne, David Cameron, Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt for the gross mismanagement that has made it necessary?
Ed Balls has made several sensible points that you can be sure will be ignored by the mainstream media and anyone else who has been taken in by the Tory Nonsense Narrative. The Conservatives have already announced £7 billion in unfunded spending, he said. He warned that VAT could rise again – pointing out that the Tories lied about raising it before the last general election.
“Pretty much everything George has said… falls apart under scrutiny,” he told Andrew Marr.
That has been true since the moment the Coalition was formed in March – yes, March – 2010.
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