Theresa May laughed – ridiculously – as Jeremy Corbyn exposed the latest Tory budget for the rubbish it was. Most expert opinion is with the Labour leader, though.

That seems to be the verdict from the experts.

According to Simon Wren-Lewis, Philip Hammond had just one job – to get UK interest rates off the zero lower bound, thereby lifting the economy out of its current liquidity trap, by fiscal stimulus. That means investment.

Did he invest in anything? No. He put ‘sticking plasters’ over the services suffering the worst damage because of his party’s dire political policies, gave his friends a few tax breaks and forced the poor to pay for them. Look:

The Corporation Tax cut comes to £6 billion – the cost of which will be borne in its entirety by disabled people.

That’s right – corporate executives will be making more money – but not enough to make any difference to their already-fabulous lifestyles – while the disabled suffer and die. That’s Theresa May’s Tory Britain for you.

The argument that the cut will stimulate competition, and therefore economic activity, is rubbish. That’s why the Americans never cut Corporation Tax after the global financial crisis.

In addition, National Insurance will rise 2% for self-employed workers by 2019 – breaking a Tory manifesto pledge. The arguments for this are rubbish – 80 per cent of those working for themselves are in poverty. The rise targets people earning more than £16,000 a year and aims to raise £2 billion. We shall see.

Economic growth has been revised down for the years 2018-2020, and austerity has therefore been extended until 2022. How many more years will it be before the general public realise that austerity is the reason economic growth keeps falling?

According to the Mirror:

The Chancellor also revealed £2billion for social care in a huge U-turn after ignoring the issue in his Autumn Statement.

There will be £435million extra help on business rates after criticism of soaring high street bills.

And NHS A&Es get a £100million ‘sticking plaster’ to improve triage in the next winter crisis. That’s about 0.3 per cent of what they need.

Other announcements include:

  • Slashing a tax break on dividends for company shareholders
  • Tories’ so called living wage – the National Living Wage – up to £7.50 in April – but slashed by 25p per hour by the end of this Parliament.
  • Sugar tax predicted to raise less money than expected as firms change recipes
  • £350 million for Scottish government, £200m for Welsh government, £120m for Northern Ireland
  • New minimum excise duty for cigarettes of £7.35 a pack
  • Nearly £1bn for 140 free schoolsand free transport for pupils going to selective schools who are on free school meals
  • T-Levels introduced – for students doing technical qualifications
  • A fund for women who suffer domestic violence
  • £2,000 tax break for childcare

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, writing in (again) the Mirror, told us:

“This is the first Budget from Philip Hammond , yet he is continuing with Osborne’s £70billion tax giveaways to a wealthy few at the top, while breaking another manifesto commitment by whacking a £2billion tax hike on low and middle earners who are self-employed.

“And he is doing nothing for working families as rising inflation squeezes household budgets.

“In fact, he is cutting the National Living Wage by 25p at the end of this Parliament while over the next five years households in our country will be £1,800 worse off.”

So this was another wasted opportunity from the party that belongs in the past.

They are blundering into the future by plundering the present.

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