The truth finally came out, writes Michael Meacher.
Osborne claimed that the deficit was being cut this year when in fact that is only due to the exceptional delaying of tax payments till the end of the fiscal year by the super-rich in order to take advantage of the reduction in the top income tax rate to 45%. Without that, which will never be repeated, the deficit would have risen this year, as on present policies it will rise in future years.
He promised “the biggest increase in real spending for a decade in 2019-20″, but that’s only because of a boom-bust roller coaster after massive spending cuts in 2016-18, which any Whitehall mandarin will tell him is a crazy, not to say utterly irresponsible, way to manage public services.
He claimed that the national debt would begin to fall in 2019-20, but that is only because he’s planning to pocket the £20bn windfall from selling off the proceeds from the bank privatisations, not because the fundamentals of debt inflation have in any way improved.
He complimented himself on a nationwide recovery spread across the whole country. The truth is that London and the South-#East continue to pull away from the rest of the country, and manufacturing and construction are still lagging badly behind the finance sector.
He claimed that Britain stood tall and was now beginning to pay its way in the world. The truth is the precise opposite. The OBR is predicting that in 2014 Britain had its biggest current account deficit since 1845, nearly 200 years ago.
He claimed that with rising real wages – albeit by only a fraction and only because the slump in the oil price, prosperity was now returning to British households. The truth is, average real wages are still nearly 8% below their pre-crash levels while at the top, inequality marches on relentlessly. The ratio between the average FTSE chief executive’s remuneration and median pay in those same companies is now more that 140:1, and according to the Sunday Times Rich List the richest 1,000 people in the UK have actually doubled their wealth in the last 5 years from a staggering £250bn to a scarcely imaginable £500bn!
The conclusion from all this is unavoidable: The real fundamental problems of the economy have not been redressed at all.
Read the rest on Michael Meacher’s blog.
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