Coalition drags out the pain with promise of many more cuts


The BBC has reported findings by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, showing that the Coalition government will be less than halfway through its planned spending cuts by the end of the current financial year (March 31).

The organisation said 60 per cent of the cuts were still to come.

This raises a few urgent questions. Firstly: This government was formed on the promise that it would balance the books by 2015, which presupposes that its entire plan for doing so would be in place long before then. We know that this ambitious claim was dismissed after years of failure, but part of the reason for this failure was that George Osborne stopped a recovery that was already taking place, and which would have led to economic growth of 20 per cent by now, if it had been allowed to continue (according to Michael Meacher MP). My question, therefore, is: Have the Conservatives been working to ensure that they would have an excuse to make more cuts, rather than to restore the economy and balance the deficit?

Secondly: We may presume that these further cuts will be inflicted over a period of years (as even the Tories know it is important to enact change gradually, rather than inflict sudden shocks on the economy that could create entirely unforeseen consequences). Are the Coalition parties assuming that they will be re-elected next year, and is it not supremely arrogant of them to believe this, considering the harm they have caused so far?

Thirdly: If the Coalition parties do want to be re-elected, it is clear that they will need to try to bring a majority of voters back on-side. Therefore we may reasonably expect to see all sorts of gifts coming our way over the next year – tax breaks or whatever else they can devise – aimed at increasing the amount of money in our pockets. However, knowing that 60 per cent of the Tory/Lib Dem cuts process is still to come, this means they will want to make even more cuts if they are returned to office. Why would we want to give them our vote, in return for presents they’ll grab back as soon as they’ve got what they want?

Fourthly: Iain Duncan Smith has inflicted £28 billion of cuts on people receiving benefits from his Department for Work and Pensions. If the IFS statement is accurate, then the total amount he’ll want to cut is a staggering £70 billion. If we consider that the amount spent on pensions (more than £100 billion) is safe, this leaves only tiny amounts for all the other benefits supplied by the DWP. Are people currently on Jobseekers’ Allowance to get nothing in the future? What about disabled people getting DLA or PIP? How about all the many, many people on Employment and Support Allowance, including those currently going through the appeal process because of wrong decisions? Mr… Smith might claim that all these benefits are being rolled into Universal Credit, but that won’t happen until 2016 or 2017 according to his own estimates, and the rest of us know that it’s not going to happen at all. Will we have any benefit system left if these cuts continue – or will the Tories try to trick us into buying duff health and employment insurance policies from their friends at Unum instead?

The BBC report said George Osborne wants a budget surplus by 2018-19, but “additional spending, population growth and extra demands on the NHS meant more cuts were needed”. This statement is not supported by any source material and we may take it this is a further sign of BBC right-wing bias.

The additional spending was made necessary because of unintended consequences of the cuts – the Tories got their sums wrong. Population growth, if due to the EU immigration that everyone complains about, will have led to a net growth in the economy as it has been proved that migrant workers from the European Union contribute more to the Treasury than they ever take out – so this is not a cause of increased spending. If the indigenous British population has been growing faster than expected, let us remember that Child Benefit is to be restricted to the first two children in a family (Cameron has denied it so it must be true) and therefore any further growth in individual families will have no bearing on the government’s bank balance. Extra demands on the NHS are a thorny subject as the Coalition promised to inject billions of pounds into the health service but no evidence has yet appeared to show that it has. Since this money was promised many years ago, it should have been included in national budgets and should not be a burden now.

The IFS also reports that there is no evidence of a housing bubble in the UK, as a result of Osborne’s ‘Help To Buy’ scheme. This was introduced last year, when Osborne realised that his austerity programme had failed and resorted to a Keynesian ‘pump-priming’ scheme to boost the housing market. Fears that this would lead to a debt-fuelled ‘bubble’ made commenters like myself cautious about the plan.

However, if there are no signs of a debt-fuelled bubble, then we should consider this to be proof that Keynesian economics was always the way forward and austerity has led us up an economic dead-end for the past four years.

This means none of Osborne’s ridiculous cuts were necessary (barring a few to eliminate waste and corruption – but under a Conservative-led regime we have no evidence that these took place and every reason to believe the opposite to be true. Look at the current ‘cronyism’ row over the appointment of Conservative ‘yes’-people to senior quango posts).

It also means the government and the right-wing media have been lying to you for four long years – and will continue doing so in self-justifying stridence for another 14 months to come.

Let them talk.

But don’t ever let them convince you their cuts are necessary.

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  1. Jim Campbell February 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Just a quick note, Mike — the always excellent ‘More or Less’ crunched the cost of immigration numbers. EU migrants do, indeed, contribute more to the economy than they take out. Non-EU migrants, however, are a net loss to the national coffers. Ironically, this means we could do with MORE migrants from the EU and fewer from the Commonwealth and other countries…

    • Mike Sivier February 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm - Reply

      Noted – cheers, Jim.

    • Shaun A J Stockdale February 5, 2014 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Noted Jim, i shall inform my daughter who is a teacher in Japan not to return here to work and help her choronically ill father, you sir have a fishy smell and as they have lost the argument on the EU swamping us, its no suprise the rest of the world gets a battering

      • Mike Sivier February 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm - Reply

        Shaun: Firstly, personal attacks are not welcome here.
        Secondly, you have misconstrued what Jim was saying.

  2. jaypot2012 February 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I believe that posts like this are needed to be printed on the internet, in the newspapers and said on the news channels, as this would keep the public reminded of all we have had to suffer due to this un-elected coalition.
    We have to keep on reminding people that these “gifts” they are going to give out will only be for their votes and that the tories and the lib/dems care absolutely nothing for us!
    I have got to keep hoping that Scotland gets its Independence as it will be the only way we can get rid of these parasites, but then it takes away a lot of Labour MP’s from Westminster, and that troubles me with the General Election coming up 6 or so months later. This leaves me in a quandary as do I vote for my country or do I vote for the UK as a whole?

  3. jaypot2012 February 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal.

  4. Jonathan Wilson February 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Just a quick point of note, child benefit is avalable for all children and not [yet] limited to the first 2.

    • Mike Sivier February 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      When’s that coming in, then?

      • Jonathan Wilson February 6, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

        Probably “if they win with a majority in 2015…[call me “dave” worst PM ever]” as per most of their as yet to be decided (but unadvertised and not mentioned in their next manifesto) policies; when all options are put on the table (or more accurately hidden in different legislation as late amendments once out of the consultation process, if one is even held).

        Seriously the whole ConDem gov is a joke (sadly on us) and one of the most undemocratic ever not elected in UK history. Its more whipped than a sadomasochist in an underground fetish club!

  5. untynewear February 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on UNEMPLOYED IN TYNE & WEAR.

  6. Nigel February 5, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I really can’t see how anybody could make the savings that Osborne wants to my making cuts to social security sans pensioner benefits, i.e., housing benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, child benefit, and various disability benefits. It’s arithmetically impossible. So what the heck are the Tories actually planning?

    • AM-FM February 6, 2014 at 12:03 am - Reply

      I don’t think George (hard-working families) Osbourne can do sums or economics.

  7. […] The BBC has reported findings by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, showing that the Coalition government will be less than halfway through its planned spending cuts by the end of the current financ…  […]

  8. rvraiment February 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    The pigs are running the farm. For the first time in my life – no, the second, Thatcher was the first – I’m praying for the advent of the slaughterman.

  9. beastrabban February 6, 2014 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

  10. […] Exactly one month ago (February 5), the Institute of Fiscal Studies reported that Cameron’s Coalition government will be less than halfway through its planned spending cuts by the end of the current financial year, as Vox Political reported at the time. […]

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