Tag Archives: autumn statement

Tories will be punished for their ‘lost decade’ and the ‘feel-bad factor’ they created

The next election will see voters punish the Prime Minister and her party for presiding over a ‘lost’ decade [Image: Getty].

The next election will see voters punish the Prime Minister and her party for presiding over a ‘lost’ decade [Image: Getty].

Commentators who have been holding on to Theresa May’s high-ish poll ratings for dear life are about to have a nasty shock, if this Independent article has any truth to it.

Living standards in the UK are plummeting and the Conservatives cannot blame Labour for the pain.

The damage has been done by Tory policies – carried out under the lie that “We’re all in this together”.

Theresa May promised to govern for everybody, including the JAMS – those who are ‘Just About Managing’. Instead she will squeeze them dry.

Her chancellor, Philip Hammond, has refused to invest in people, meaning there is no hope from government funding.

It’s a shame that the author of this piece, Andrew Grice, is unable to keep his own political bias out of it.

“Labour is off the public’s radar,” he writes. Is that not because influential periodicals like the Independent are saying so?

And if that is true, then why is Mr Grice using Labour to point out the inadequacies of Tory Brexit policy? He writes: “Even if voters blamed the income squeeze on Brexit, that would not necessarily spare May. Labour is already attacking what it calls a ‘shambolic Tory Brexit’.”

And if “Labour still trails the Tories on economic competence”, that can only be with the connivance of commentators like Mr Grice.

If everybody were to make their judgement according to the facts – as laid out in this Vox Political article – Labour would certainly be faring much better.

But then, as that article points out, rich media bosses want to con their readers and viewers into voting for the party that helps rich media bosses.

The next election will be fought amid a “feel-bad factor”, the opposite of what any governing party wants. The decline in living standards will have happened on the Tories’ watch.

While the Autumn Statement looked thin, it told us a lot about the May Government… Philip Hammond did very little to alleviate the pain that is coming on living standards, as inflation rises faster than wages. The bleak forecasts from the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Resolution Foundation think tanks should worry May, as they show how hard the “Jams” will be squeezed. She will not meet the great expectations she aroused in July without a major change of course.

The Tories are already trying to repeat their old trick of blaming Labour – this time for the wage stagnation since the 2008 crash… But it won’t wash this time. The Tories argue that the think tanks’ numbers do not take account of the higher personal tax allowance and claim that “real household disposable income” is rising by 2.8 per cent, the highest ever increase. But this won’t cut any ice with the “Jams”if they are worse off overall, as they surely will be.

Source: Bad news for Theresa May: voters are about to punish her for the ‘feel-bad factor’ | The Independent

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Nobody likes someone who can’t make up their mind, Theresa May – especially on grammar schools

It seems Theresa May wants to become a ventriloquist when she leaves politics, and is seen here practising her act: "Gottle o'gear! Gottle o'gear! Grannar schools are cunning gack!"

It seems Theresa May wants to become a ventriloquist when she leaves politics, and is seen here practising her act: “Gottle o’gear! Gottle o’gear! Grannar schools are cunning gack!”

If you’re wondering why you can’t remember an announcement about £240 million going to grammar schools, it’s because Philip Hammond hardly mentioned it.

The only words he uttered on the subject in his Autumn Statement speech are these: “The government’s education reforms have raised standards and expanded opportunity with 1.4 million more children now in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools.

“And the new capital funding I have provided today for grammar schools will help to continue that trend.”

Easy to miss.

Personally, I thought the grammar schools fiasco had died the death it richly deserved.

The Tory Government abandoned its plan for a new education bill at the end of October, and that meant no more grammar schools.

It seems absolutely insane that they are now raking over these old coals – and giving schools that already cater for the privileged an extra £240 million in preparation for more to come.

Is this yet another U-turn by Theresa May?

If so, the ‘dangerous driving’ label applied to her in the Guardian article I quoted earlier this month is becoming increasingly apt.

Theresa May faces a backlash from Tory MPs after £240m was devoted to an expansion of grammar school places in the Autumn Statement.

One Conservative told The Independent the much needed cash should be refocused on ensuring high-quality leadership in schools in general.

Others said they were “taken aback” when Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the money would be set aside for the plan.

The money to increase places at existing schools comes as Ms May is still consulting on her proposals to open completely new grammars, a process some felt should be completed before any expansion of selective education occurs.

Mr Hammond said £60m has been earmarked every year to 2020/21 to expand existing grammar schools. The consultation on Ms May’s plan to lift the ban on opening new grammars finishes on December 12.

Source: Theresa May faces Tory backlash over £240m boost for grammar school places | The Independent

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The Autumn (non-) Statement: Why have there been so few howls of outrage in response?

Over a cliff: The Brexit bus, with all its claims of a new Golden Age for the UK, teeters on the edge. Boris Johnson, in the driver's seat, says: "Boys? I've got an idea."

Over a cliff: The Brexit bus, with all its claims of a new Golden Age for the UK, teeters on the edge. Boris Johnson, in the driver’s seat, says: “Boys? I’ve got an idea.” Then Philip Hammond walks up and pushes bus, Boris and Britain over the precipice.

Probably because there are very few people around with the economic expertise to know that outrage is the proper way to respond.

Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement – his first real contribution to UK politics as Chancellor of the Exchequer – was a long admission that the Conservative Party has ruined the country, hidden behind an attempt to blame it all on Brexit.

No, Philip; your party’s policies are responsible.

So it seems the UK is going to have to borrow an extra £59 billion – just to cover the cost to the country of Brexit.

This means the claim on the side of the famous red Brexit bus, that we could put £350 million a week into NHS services was definitely a lie. Let’s not beat around the bush any more – it was a lie and the people who made that statement are liars who cannot be trusted with anything.

Oh – but Boris Johnson, one of the arch-liars, is now Foreign Secretary and has a huge responsibility to deliver the best possible exit from the European Union for the population of the UK. Honestly, how do you think that’s going to work out?

We now know there will be less money available for the NHS and other public services than before, due to lower productivity growth (because foreign countries aren’t buying from us) and – yes – lower immigration.

Your wages and prosperity will suffer like never before, because of this. But I bet your right-wing neighbour still thinks immigrant-bashing is a worthwhile activity.

Paul Johnson, of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has said, “One cannot stress enough how dreadful that is.”

And all as a result of the vote for a Conservative Government last year.

It is worth emphasizing, as many commentators have, the almost-complete failure to mention the National Health Service or provide any more money for it, even though it is in a funding crisis of horrifying proportions. Mr Hammond says announcements about extra funding for the service have already been made, ignoring the fact that his government has not provided enough.

Perhaps one reason for this is the pitiful increase in public investment announced by Mr Hammond, at a time when interest rates are at an all-time low. There will never be a better time to borrow money and invest it in the UK’s infrastructure, but instead we’re getting 0.3 or 0.4 per cent of GDP, in each financial year leading up to 2020 – slightly more than from New Labour in the years before the financial crisis.

This tells us – although Mr Hammond will never say it aloud – that the Conservatives are continuing their squeeze on public services, started back in the dark days of the Coalition Parliament. One might say it is all part of the plan to take everything away from public hands, as started by Margaret Thatcher and her cronies back in 1979 – if only one had the experience and understanding to see that far.

There’s more – we could discuss the hidden policy not to increase fuel duty, that throws out all the economic predictions but gives the Tories a favourable headline in their poodle press; or we could mention the new fiscal rules which set the scene for panic cuts in public investment as we approach the now-fixed (rather than rolling) date for the deficit to be cut back to a new level set by Mr Hammond.

But it is all too depressing, really.

Someone recently said that, with a May as prime minister and a Hammond as chancellor, all we need is a Clarkson for the UK’s government to emulate the former Top Gear presenting team, now relegated to internet TV on their Grand Tour. It is true that Clarkson once considered standing in the 2015 election.

Some might consider that a good idea – a brand behind which to market the UK’s flailing government.

But let’s be honest: Clarkson, Hammond and May were successful because they presented themselves as three petrol-headed idiots.

With May, Hammond and Boris Johnson in the UK’s driving seat, we don’t need any marketing.

We already know they are idiots. Sadly, we also know that their calamities won’t just be television entertainment – we’ll have to live with the consequences.

But the response to the Autumn Statement has been muted. Some have even claimed that John McDonnell was wrong to challenge it by demanding more investment.

This is because we do not – as a nation – know enough about economics. Otherwise we would be on the streets in front of Parliament, right now, demanding a change of direction – or a change of government.

Source: mainly macro: 2016 Autumn Statement

You are thousands of pounds a year worse-off because of Conservative Government

Workers have had an average annual rise of 1.3 per cent since 2010 [Image: Rex/Shutterstock].

Workers have had an average annual rise of 1.3 per cent since 2010 [Image: Rex/Shutterstock].

This is the result of Conservative Government – a Conservative Government that promised to “make work pay” but knew it was a lie.

Instead we have a country that has been flooded with low-paying non-jobs that mean people must claim benefits or go into debt, and a benefit system that has been continually skewed to make fewer people eligible, forcing the rest towards destitution and suicide.

And Philip Hammond is no doubt planning to make that sound like an achievement in his Autumn Statement next week.

After all, he is doing quite all right, thank you very much. And so are his friends.

They don’t care about you. ‘One Nation’ Conservatism was a bad joke. Spread the word.

Sluggish wage growth means the average employee is £3,500 a year worse off since the Conservatives came to power, according to Labour analysis of Treasury figures before chancellor Philip Hammond’s first autumn statement next week.

Compared with the average wage growth under Labour, full-time employees are £67 a week or £292 a month worse off, the party’s report found. The analysis compared the average annual percentage change in wages in the six years of the Conservative and coalition governments, which is 1.3%.

In contrast, the average growth under the last Labour government was 3.2%, though growth fell significantly post-2008. Labour will use slow wage growth as a key argument against plans to cut universal credit, which Hammond is being urged to reverse in his autumn statement on 23 November.

Source: Employees £3,500 a year worse off under Tories, says Labour | UK news | The Guardian

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Embarrassing leaked Treasury document shows Tory finances are badly off-target

Philip Hammond: The last time I saw a face like that, Josef Goebbels was behind it [Image: PA Wire].

Philip Hammond: The last time I saw a face like that, Josef Goebbels was behind it [Image: PA Wire].

An article on the UK’s financial system was on its way from This Blog when the news broke about the Treasury’s dire performance; I wanted to sharpen my claws for the Autumn Statement.

We all knew the news was going to be bad – didn’t we? So I was going to say how useful it is for Philip Hammond to have a job that requires him to give speeches, simply in order to prevent the rest of us from making a natural assumption and putting him in a coffin.

I was also going to suggest that – when he does make speeches – his face reminds me of nobody else but Josef Goebbels, the minister for propaganda in Nazi Germany; a comparison that is likely to be all-too-appropriate if he tries to put an optimistic spin on this mess.

Who was the fool who forecast a 27 per cent deficit reduction this year, anyway? Was it George Osborne? Ye gods.

Yes, it was the towel-folder. Having failed to meet any of his deficit-reduction targets – at all – he pencilled in a borrowing reduction of £20 billion, to £55 billion by the end of March next year. So far, borrowing is indeed lower – but by only 2.3 billion.

Osborne’s prediction is likely to be adrift by £16 billion by the time the financial year finally grinds to a halt.

And now the UK is having to find extra money to pay an angry EU, at a time when income is likely to drop as confidence starts to waver in the face of unremitting incompetence from Theresa May and her clique.

No wonder Hammond remains “committed to fiscal discipline”.

It means he’ll squeeze the poor until we starve, just to keep borrowing at the same rate as last year. Tories always take more from the state than they ever pay back.

The chancellor’s plans to reduce the deficit are unlikely to get back on track this year, an internal briefing document for ministers has revealed.

The Treasury document, which was marked “sensitive”, also revealed the UK faced a £700m bill after the EU referendum result, with Britain’s contribution to the EU growing by 25.9% compared with the same period last year.

Treasury sources, who said the document was posted in error on the government’s website, said the most recent payments had been larger than usual because of smaller payments made earlier in the year.

The briefing warns that the government is “unlikely to bring deficit reduction entirely back on track” and that the “continuing run of disappointing data” meant there was a “severe worsening in the public finances”.

“For the year to date the deficit is £2.3bn lower than last year; at a fall of 4.8%, well behind the 27.0% reduction forecast,” the document says.

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has insisted since October that although the government will not now seek a surplus by 2020, it remains “committed to fiscal discipline”.

Source: UK budget deficit plan off target – secret Treasury document | Politics | The Guardian

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‘We are the builders’ says Osborne as he plants his spending plans on shifting sands

Has anybody noticed that the big giveaways in George Osborne’s spending review and Autumn Statement are based on an imagined increase in funds of £27 billion according to claims by the Office for Budget Responsibility?

This is the organisation that has been wrong in just about every prediction it has made.

Look at its predictions for the deficit:

OBRborrowingforecasts

And these were made as long ago as 2012!

Osborne’s plan is also based on a claim that the government will be more efficient at collecting taxes – after announcing that plans to combat tax avoidance have been shelved due to “complexity“. Much of this is due to ‘modeling’ changes – alterations in the way the organisation calculates the amount likely to be collected – rather than any surprise increase.

The OBR (again) reckons that tax income will increase by £15 billion, by the end of the current Parliament.

taxprediction

So he has no solid evidence that borrowing will come down as expected, and has put in place no measures to ensure he’ll collect the extra taxes he needs.

On second thoughts, he’s not on shifting sands – he has put us all in quicksand.

ADDITIONAL: Apparently the OBR reckons the measures Osborne has announced today (November 25) will increase the tax take by £28.5 billion by 2020-21. This consists of the new apprenticeship levy (£11.6 billion), higher council tax (£6.2 billion), and the introduction of higher rates of stamp duty land tax for second homes and buy-to-let purchases (£3.8 billion). It’s a major hit for businesses. Are we sure they’ll put up with it?

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How will Osborne’s Autumn Statement help real earnings recover?

At the moment, real earnings stand 9.5 per cent lower than they were in February 2008. Here’s a graph showing how they have fallen:

151123realearningsfall

Considering his plans could involve cutting tax credits and housing benefit – both of which would have a direct effect on household incomes, it seems the important question regarding the Autumn Statement on Wednesday is this:

How will this help real earnings recover…

Or is this not the plan after all?

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Five things you should know about the Autumn Statement

This is self-explanatory. I’ve included only the headings of the ‘five things’ but you can read the details over at Real Media.

But you should be aware of the last point, so let’s make it the first: “draft legislation to tackle aggressive tax avoidance has been pushed back due to ‘complexity’, and won’t feature in the Autumn Statement”.

Well, what a surprise!

Yet again the Conservative Government avoids tackling tax avoidance. You’d think ministers had a vested interest in letting it continue. Wouldn’t you?

On Wednesday George Osborne will unveil his latest package of financial policy, as part of his ambitious plan to create a surplus by 2020. It’s clear he has his work cut out, with recent figures from Office for National Security showing the deficit has actually grown by a whopping 16% since October 2014.

With economists predicting a big miss for his deficit targets, the Chancellor will set out just how he intends to deliver the programme of cuts promised by the Conservative Party at the 2015 general election, with speculation rife as to what might be included.

The arguments over proposed cuts to Tax Credits have received widespread coverage in the mainstream press, and whatever the outcome of Wednesday’s statement, it seems likely it will contain proposals which could lead to potential hardship for thousands of ‘hardworking families’ and ‘strivers’.

It’s possible the Autumn Statement will include policy details on just how the Government plans to solve the UK’s Housing crisis, with more details about the 20,000 starter homes the Government promised to build at the election.

The Northern Powerhouse, more details on the UK Living Wage, a huge reduction in Transport for London’s government grant, and reforms to pensions have all been touted as possible points of focus for Wednesday’s statement.

With only a few days to go and the Chancellor himself declaring ‘economic security to be the ‘beating heart’ of the spending review, here’s five things you should know about the Autumn Statement.

1.     All eyes are on the potential cuts to Tax Credits

2.   Housing Benefit

3.   Deep cuts for Government departments

4.   It’s ‘Which Public Service will be privatised this time’ bingo!

5.   Corporation Tax

Sadly, draft legislation to tackle aggressive tax avoidance has been pushed back due to ‘complexity’, and won’t feature in the Autumn Statement.

Source: 5 Things You Should Know About The Autumn Statement | Real Media – The News You Don’t See

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McDonnell: Labour Would Build A ‘Fairer And Sustainable Society’

Undoubtedly, this will go down as John McDonnell’s ‘Socialism with an iPad’ speech, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

So much more, in fact, that This Writer is going to have to attempt to pull out the main points and point you to the rest.

Mr McDonnell was giving his speech at Imperial College, and it was intended to be a warning shot at George Osborne, ahead of the chance(llo)r’s Autumn Statement. Here’s what he said:

Technological advance is forcing the pace of change. Bank of England research suggests that 15 million jobs could be at risk of automation over the next decade or so. And those most at risk from automation are the lowest-paid.

For those who own the robots, of course, it will be a different story. Wealth will flow faster into fewer hands. A minority will continue to profit immensely.

Our giant corporations are enjoying a boom time, taking their biggest ever slice of our national income as profits. Corporation tax, already the lowest in the G7, has been cut again and cut, heading towards just 18%.

Featherbedding, through a wildly complex system of tax reliefs that now comes to £110bn a year.

Cutting HMRC, while turning a blind eye to rampant tax avoidance and evasion, running into billions.

Some of the most powerful institutions in the land appear to act almost unhindered. Think about how little has been done to get even our publicly-owned banks to clean up their act since the crash.

We already have the most repressive union laws in Western Europe. The Trade Union Bill will tighten the screw still further.

No formal provision exists for workers to have a say in decisions that affect not only their own lives but potentially those of their customers.

As a share of GDP, public infrastructure spending has fallen from 3.3% in the final year of the last Labour government to 1.6% today. It is scheduled to fall still further, to 1.4%.

Meanwhile, our major corporations, despite record profits, are sitting on vast cash piles. At least £400bn is held in corporate bank accounts – money that should be invested. Meanwhile, dividend payments are at an all-time high.

So we have a government that won’t invest and corporations that won’t invest, a damaging cycle setting up the generations ahead for failure. The consequences of this failure are all too apparent. Underpaid and overworked staff. Insecurity. Businesses unable to compete. Basic utilities under threat.

The National Grid has warned of electricity shortages. This in Britain, in 2015 – the sixth richest economy on the planet.

Clearly, some of this has got back to Osborne. In a state of panic, he has been running around China trying to drum up funding. Osborne opposes nationalisation – except when it’s the Chinese or the French state doing it. Short-termism and antipathy to the state dominates every decision.

A new contract for the workplace means securing a better balance between those who work, and those who employ. We will open a review on workplace representation, drawing on the best practice from around the World to unlock democracy in our workplaces and release its creative potential.

We will seek to break open the monopolies and oligopolies that dominate our essential industries, offering extended support to those seeking to set up co-operative and community ownership of their companies and assets.

We need to think about how government can operate on the basis not only of providing necessary public services, but also to meet challenges in the future. That is why we have launched reviews of the mandate of the Bank of England, and the Treasury’s function, to report on how they can operate in the best interests of society.

Labour in government will bring together business, unions, and scientists in a new Innovation Policy strategy, with a mission-led goal to boost research and development spending, and maximise the social and economic benefits from that expenditure.

We want government to work with, not against, those entrepreneurs helping create wealth in society. But rather than investing for the future, Osborne has overseen a slump in government funding for vital infrastructure.

The OECD thinks that, as a minimum, a developed country like Britain should be spending 3.5% of GDP on infrastructure. Labour in power will meet and exceed that commitment, reversing decades of underspend. This could include renewable energy, energy efficiency, major public transport improvements and ultra-highspeed broadband.

A Labour Government would prioritise provision of patient long term finance for investment in research to support the technology that will drive future innovation in our economy.

And we would look to change our corporate tax system to give companies incentives to invest wisely.

A higher tax on retained earnings should be investigated, alongside improved deductibility for long-term investment.

Labour will seek a new compact with financial services, looking for guarantees on stable, long-term domestic investment, mobilising their skills and resources for the wider public benefit. We will retain, of course, the right to legislate if needed.

It is science, technology and innovation that are shaping our new world. Britain has an extraordinary and proud legacy of scientific research. But rather than build on that heritage, we are strip-mining it. Current expenditure on research and development has fallen by £1bn in real terms since 2010. The UK has no long-term plan to increase R&D spending.

The Royal Society recommends a target of meeting at least the OECD average spend on research and development by 2020. A Labour Government will aim to exceed this, with total spending – from both public and private sources – of at least 3% of GDP by 2030.

We will extend Labour’s Ten-Year Framework to cover the next decade and increase innovation support, ring-fencing this spending.

At present, employer after employer reports dire [skills] shortages. Further Education colleges, a vital lynch-pin of the education system, are threatened with swingeing cuts.

The widening gap between our richest places and the rest is clearly excessive. Average weekly pay in North-East Derbyshire is £389 a week while in the City of London it’s £921. Government’s response to this regional disparity has been persistently inadequate.

Planned infrastructure spending per person in the North of England is one-fifth of its level in London. We won’t get a “Northern Powerhouse” unless government is prepared to pay for it.

Improved transport, greater autonomy in taxation and spending decisions, and powers to borrow will enable our regions to meet their huge potential.

And of course we cannot allow government to strip local councils to the bone. Labour will continue to oppose the devastating cuts being made to local authority funding. Local authorities can, and should, be local engines of sustainable, long-term prosperity.

The insecurity of self-employment. The uncertainty of not knowing where, or when, the next paycheque will be coming from. And the pressure this places on those in more typical employment, whether it is London taxi drivers threatened by Uber or call-centre workers placed on zero-hour contracts.

Millions of workers excluded from the hard-won protections of formal employment contracts. And relentless pressure placed on those, the majority, still protected. Technological change, and the unfettered free market, are tearing up the old work contract.

Labour… will offer a new contract for a new workforce. Security of income against uncertainty. The same rights and protections extended to all those at work.

The tax credit system is well-adapted to new forms of employment. Small businesses, providing a useful service to the community, rely on the tax credits system to get them on their feet and smooth out their earnings. So we will defend and, where we can, improve the tax credits system.

Self-employment offers few protections. So we will look to extend maternity and paternity rights to all self-employed workers.

Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity. Unless we change our political choices, the vast majority will be denied the opportunities that technological change presents. We can’t afford to run a deficit with the future.

Working with businesses, workers, and civil society, governments today can and must seize the chance to change how we live and work, both now and in the future. A prosperous society built on sustainable growth, and predicated on the values of fairness, equality and social justice.

It’s socialism, but socialism with an iPad.”

Source: Labour Would Build A ‘Fairer And Sustainable Society’, Says John McDonnell | Welfare Weekly

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Osborne’s biggest lie: ‘Conservatives are competent’

As history will remember him: George Osborne will be remembered, but not for his calamitous career as Chancellor. His name will forever be linked to cocaine and (let's call them) 'ladies of the night'.

As history will remember him: George Osborne will be remembered, but not for his calamitous career as Chancellor. His name will forever be linked to cocaine and (let’s call them) ‘ladies of the night’.

Georgie Orgy, nose puddings and lies
Starved the poor – some of them died.
When the voters have their say
George Osborne will run away.

It would be impossible to take George Osborne seriously, if not for the fact that his plans threaten the livelihood, health, and indeed the lives – not only of British citizens, but of the nation itself.

His words yesterday (Monday), during the row with the Liberal Democrats over economic policy, certainly do not deserve any respect after the absolute nonsense he spouted to Parliament last week, masquerading as the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement.

According to the BBC, he said spending cuts to reduce the deficit are a “price that works for our country”. Why?

“We are going to have to make savings.” Why? “We are going to have to cut certain welfare bills like benefits that go to working-age people.” Why?

“But the prize is economic stability, growth, jobs in the future, brighter future, I think that’s a price that works for our country.” Why?

Notice that he did not give any reasons for his statements. He presented them as though they were incontestable facts. They’re not.

Look at, for example, his claim that working-age benefits must be cut. Is he proposing cuts to benefits taken by working people because their employers are too miserly to pay them a living wage? Does he have a plan to help those people make ends meet, then? This writer hasn’t seen it!

That’s unless it’s the hoary old “Ask your boss for a raise.” Clearly, privileged George never had to try that.

You can be sure he won’t be requiring companies to pay a living wage to make up for the shortfall of in-work benefits that he is planning. The result is as inevitable as night following day: Working people will be unable to support themselves. If they pay housing costs but don’t buy food, they’ll become sick and will lose their jobs; if they buy food but neglect the rent/mortgage, they’ll be evicted and will lose their jobs due to homelessness.

The huge cumulative drop in the amount of cash being circulated through the economy implies a consequent effect on businesses; with fewer ordinary working people able to buy their goods, firms will go out of business. Super-rich twits like Osborne will be insulated from the effects for a while but the recession he is determined to cause will eventually overtake even his family wallpaper business. What will he do then?

The last four and a half years have shown that cutting public spending will not reduce the deficit. As many people have pointed out, it is madness to repeat the process and expect a different result. Looking at the BBC quotation, it seems Osborne is caught in a lie. His spending cuts aren’t about reducing the deficit at all; they’re about reducing the state – as bloggers like Alex Little, Martin Odoni, Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, kittysjones, and blogs like Flip Chart Fairy Tales, Skwawkbox, and even Vox Political have made clear.

We don’t have to make savings – we should be concentrating on increasing productivity and profit instead. That will get the deficit down much more quickly than whittling away the apparatus of the state until the damage is irreparable.

We don’t have to cut benefits to working-age people – we should be ensuring that nobody with a job needs to claim benefits; that they are paid enough to support themselves and their families.

We should also be providing the highest-quality education to youngsters and training to jobseekers young and old, in order to ensure that they can get a job without spending useless months parked in a benefit system that is more about hiding the unemployed in sanction hell than about providing any actual help.

Osborne’s way offers no stability, no growth, no jobs, and you’d better believe he offers no future.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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