Tag Archives: budget

No emergency budget to help with cost-of-living crisis

Michael Gove: it seems there won’t be any levelling-UP of opportunity while he’s in charge of it.

The Secretary of State for ‘Levelling Up’ has made a mockery of his title by saying there will be no emergency budget to provide help for families facing financial hardship in the cost-of-living crisis his government has caused.

Michael Gove said Boris Johnson’s claim that Chancellor Rishi Sunak and he “would be saying more about this in the days to come” had been widely misinterpreted:

“The prime minister is right. We will be saying more and doing more in order to help people with the cost of living challenge we face at the moment, but that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget. It is part of the work of government.

“Last night the prime minister convened a group of ministers – we have all done work on some of the things we could do to help. Those policy initiatives will be announced by individual departments in due course as they are worked up.”

And the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said

the cost of living crisis was “now the most important challenge” in Britain which he and Cabinet colleagues would be discussing how to solve this week.

“You will hear more probably on Thursday after the Cabinet has met,” he told TalkTV.

This Writer will believe in new measures only when I hear them.

The ideas on the table so far are pathetically weak – cutting the frequency of MOT tests on cars to once every two years, for crying out loud! How is making our roads unsafe going to save money after the collisions start happening?

Put it together with the words of Johnson, Gove and Hart and we see a government that is happy to put us all in an impossible situation, and then delighted to leave us all to find our own way out of it.

Source: PM’s cost of living hint has been ‘over interpreted’, says Gove – and no emergency budget

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Money Saving Expert says: don’t let the Tories blame cost of living crisis on Ukraine war

Martin Lewis: “It is a worsening of the situation – it is not the cause of the situation.”

The UK’s cost of living crisis started in the UK before the Russia-Ukraine war and should not be blamed on that conflict, ‘Money Saving Expert’ Martin Lewis has said.

And he said direct political action to ease the pressure is required – in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring Budget on March 23 – because cutting household expenditure won’t be enough to save people from poverty.

He was speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on March 10:

 

“Kwasi Kwarteng has said that many people are willing to make sacrifices because of Ukraine. I think he’s probably right but I am slightly worried that we are seeing what may be potentially a deliberate narrative shift that effectively says the entire cost of living crisis is due to Ukraine, and therefore we all need to make sacrifices/

“That is not correct. What has happened in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation.

“But the rises in energy, heating oil, water, council tax, broadband and mobiles, food, National Insurance, were all in place before Ukraine.

“When we have a Budget – or a Spring Statement – coming in a couple of weeks, we need to be careful not to allow that narrative to happen and to be used as an excuse that we all need to make sacrifices because of Ukraine, and that’s why we have to suck in the cost of living crisis.

“That is not a correct analysis. It is a worsening of the situation – it is not the cause of the situation.”

Mr Lewis added: “We are going to see a real increase in genuine poverty in this country; millions of people being thrown into poverty.

“The only way we can stop that is not by being money saving and tightening our belts; it is by genuine political intervention.

“We have a Spring Statement coming and I would urge the Chancellor: let’s nip this in the bud. Let’s not have people starving or freezing.”

What if the Tories don’t nip it in the bud? What if they want to push this fake narrative? What if they’re trying to use it to avoid providing any meaningful help?

You see, the mass media tries to avoid suggesting it, but this is what we need to ask ourselves:

What if the Tories are actually steering most of us directly into poverty because that’s what they want for us? Are we really going to lie back and let it happen?

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Tory corruption news: Rishi Sunak gave Tory donor banker £7.6 million tax cut

Rishi Sunak: “Oh no! The public have seen through my cunning wheeze!” Too right, mate.

Does this require any elaboration at all?

In a week full of Tory corruption, this should come as no surprise.

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Brexit is far worse for the UK than Covid. Why didn’t Sunak mention it in his Budget speech?

Big mistake: Johnson said Brexit would release a huge amount of money into the UK economy – instead it has shrunk the economy by four per cent. That’s more than any of the recessions of the 1970s and 80s.

Rishi Sunak’s big lie: in his Budget speech he referred time and time again to the effect of the Covid crisis, and the need to recover from it – and not once to Brexit.

So the Budget “does not draw a line under Covid”; it prepares for “a new economy post-Covid”; it forecasts that the economy with “return to its pre-Covid level” at the turn of the year; it says the Tory government has been “more successful” than feared in preventing the “long-term economic damage of Covid”.

Sunak talked about supporting theatres, orchestra, museums and galleries “to recover from Covid”; he refers to the business rate cut as being among “Covid reliefs”; and he says Covid was “not just a public health challenge and an economic challenge – it was a moral challenge too”.

What about the public health and moral challenges of Brexit, then – now that we know it has caused twice as much harm to the economy as Covid-19?

According to the Guardian article,

Richard Hughes said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had assumed leaving the EU would “reduce our long run GDP by around 4%”, adding in comments to the BBC: “We think that the effect of the pandemic will reduce that (GDP) output by a further 2%.”

“In the long term it is the case that Brexit has a bigger impact than the pandemic”, Hughes told the broadcaster.

And yet it hasn’t been mentioned by the government in its most significant financial statement of the year.

Could it be that someone (Boris Johnson) is a little embarrassed?

He should be:

Only yesterday – the day after the Budget speech – Parliament was hearing about the devastating effect on the economy… of Brexit:

Let’s be honest, minister Victoria Prentis’s reply wasn’t very reassuring, was it? The questioner had already said people aren’t queuing up domestically to harvest fruit and vegetables, and the EU recruitment schemes have all failed. That leaves automation, which will stop people from having jobs in the future.

It’s the elephant in the Treasury.

Sunak won’t talk about it because he knows a Tory government caused it.

And it has caused twice as much harm as the pandemic he has blamed for so many of the UK’s current problems.

It seems to This Writer – and doesn’t it seem the same to you? – that nothing he has said will count for anything if he continues to ignore the biggest single threat to our well-being, just because his boss caused it.

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Budget responses: will there be an election next year?

Keir Starmer: an election will be a chance to get rid of HIM.

To be honest, This Writer had not expected it, but some people are claiming that Sunak’s Budget is heralding a general election next year.

And my first response was:

Good! We’ll be able to get rid of Keir Starmer.

Wait – what? Shouldn’t I be hoping to get rid of Boris Johnson?

Sure. But Starmer represents a more long-term threat to the UK.

You see, Tories do what Tories do. But by turning Labour into Tory-lite (or more accurately Tory-Hard-Right), Starmer is deliberately ending any chance for a better future, for millions of people who are being plunged into poverty by Johnson and Sunak.

Think about all the socialist policies that you support:

These are now FORMER Labour economic policies. They’re still popular but now neither of the main UK political parties will support them. Instead, they’ll try to force you to choose between the very similar policies that THEY want.

How are you going to get any of them if Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer is running the UK? You won’t.

Water re-nationalisation may become a test case now. The companies running water services in England are run by the national governments of eight foreign countries who have chosen to dump raw sewage into our waterways rather than progressively update the Victorian sewerage system from the time they took over the system – as the terms of the sale demanded.

The government now says the public would have to pay for improvements. If that happens, shouldn’t the water companies come back into public ownership? After all, we’re still paying for everything.

We need leaders who will campaign for the changes – and the services we want. Some are saying that Labour’s Socialist Campaign Group should step up.

But they’re too scared of being expelled from the party by the Starmtroopers in the Governance and Legal Unit.

So where’s the Opposition going to come from?

A recent local election saw Labour lose a seat – and come a distant third – to an Independent candidate.

They’re usually Tories in disguise but wouldn’t it be welcome if we had socialists standing independently and winning elections?

Who’s up for it?

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Sunak’s budget: cuts in tax for the rich, cuts in cash for you

Sunak startled: had somebody dared to point out that his Budget is rotten? And look behind him – we have a prime minister who can’t even put on a face mask properly.

Has anybody taken the prime minister to one side and explained the Budget to him in words he can understand?

I thought not.

The problem with everything Rishi Sunak said in his speech is that we must not believe a word of it.

He’ll be lying about it for months to come. So will Boris Johnson and any other government minister who gets the chance – just as they have been lying about all their political decisions since the last Budget.

It doesn’t matter how high he says inflation is going to get because it will probably be worse than his prediction.

He said the supply chain crisis caused by his government’s absolute thudding Brexit inadequacy “will take months to ease”? He probably means it never will.

He predicted that the economy will return to pre-Covid levels “at the turn of the year”. For whom? Not for those who have died, I feel sure. Nor for the poor, who are being squeezed dry by his tax increases and wage cuts.

Another prediction: the economy will grow by six per cent next year. We’ve heard all this before, haven’t we? George Osborne was always banging on about how the economy would improve – and how the deficit would reduce… and he was wrong every single time.

Sunak mentioned “underlying debt”, which he said would increase for a few years before starting to come down. Yeah, Osborne used to say that, too. Funny how it’s still increasing, six years after he left Parliament.

Total government spending is to increase by £150 billion, which seems good. But how much of an increase is actually needed, not only to maintain service, but to improve them? He didn’t say.

He said spending on healthcare would rise by £44 billion. Again, how much is actually needed? He didn’t say. And how much is going to the private health parasites the Tories have allowed to infest the English NHS since 2010, to be lost in the bank accounts of their shareholders? He didn’t say.

He did say England would get 40 new hospitals (again) and 50,000 more nurses (again). Perhaps he’s just hoping that if he keeps saying it, it might magically happen one day, of its own accord.

He said local authorities would receive £4.8 billion for social care – but over the next three years. That’s what they say when the actual annual figure is flaccid. And will it be ring-fenced? How much will local government receive to maintain and improve services? Oh, right – he didn’t say.

He said the Budget funds an “ambition” to recruit 20,000 new police officers. But former Home Secretary Theresa May got rid of more than that number, didn’t she? And natural wastage means even more have been lost since she did it. So we’re being asked to face the Tory crimewave with fewer police than ever.

He promised programmes to tackle neighbourhood crime, reoffending, county lines crimes, violence against women and girls, victims’ services, and an improved response to rape cases. If you think any of these will amount to anything at all, then you haven’t been paying attention.

And he said £3.8 billion would be spent on the largest prison-building programme in a generation. Because those prisons can be cash cows for private firms. And of course, no money will be spent on programmes to ensure people don’t commit crimes. There’s no profit in it.

He said he was setting aside £11.8 billion to build 180,000 affordable homes – but has his government ever hit a target it has set for such home-building? I’ll give you a clue: no. The last target was 300,000 a year, so this is a significant reduction – not an increase.

In comparison with the £11.8 billion that is unlikely to be spent, consider the £640 million a year set aside to help people who are homeless and/or sleep rough. If those figures were reversed, he might actually do some good.

He’ll spend £5 billion removing unsafe cladding from buildings, partly using money from a residential property developers’ tax. And he’ll replace it with what? This is a meaningless gesture if residents are left in buildings that are poorly-insulated. Sunak could benefit from talks with Insulate Britain but of course he won’t consider doing anything that sensible.

He announced a £46 billion investment in the railways. Shouldn’t the private rail companies be spending this money from their profits? That’s why the railways were sold off, back in the 1990s, wasn’t it? So we wouldn’t have to spend public cash on the rail system?

On education, he said he wants to restore per-pupil funding to 2010 levels. Wouldn’t it be better for him to restore that funding to the level they would have reached this year, if not for persistent, toxic Tory cuts since 2010?

Businesses will enjoy massive tax cuts. People won’t.

The minimum wage (“National Living Wage”! Ha!) will rise to £9.50 per hour – all of which will be lost to higher taxes (previously announced by Sunak) and inflation. Employees will be worse-off.

And the Universal Credit taper rate is being adjusted from 63 per cent to 55 per cent, meaning for every pound earned by working claimants, their UC award will be reduced by 55p instead of 63p. For someone on the minimum wage, that’s worth around £28 per week and – yes – it will be swallowed up in taxes and inflation.

Sunak shot his government’s climate change credibility in the foot by announcing a reduction in taxes for air passengers, making this hugely polluting form of travel cheaper.

The whole Budget is ridiculous.

Sunak went into a big rant at the end about building a stronger economy for the British people. You can always tell that even they don’t believe their claptrap when they’re couching it with such a lot of hyperbole.

It boils down to: “More for the rich and less for you, but I’ve said it in a way that means you won’t realise it, ha ha ha!”

You’re not stupid enough to fall for that, of course.

What about your Tory-voting next-door-neighbour?

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Sunak’s Budget is ‘for the fairies’ because it assumes that Covid is over

His next job: because Sunak has just served up a Budget ‘for the fairies’ that is likely to fall flat on its face in a few short months.

It seems the phrase du jour is ‘for the fairies’.

Some daft Tory MP said nurses’ calls for pay increases were “for the fairies” – see my earlier story on that.

Now I see Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has used the same phrase to describe Rishi Sunak’s budget.

He also said the Johnson government is “firing blanks” at every level.

And that Sunak is likely to be back at the Dispatch Box in a very short time with emergency measures to cope with the disastrous failure of all his Budget predictions.

He says these things with confidence because of one simple fact: Covid-19 has not agreed to follow Boris Johnson’s “roadmap” (it’s actually a timetable but you can’t expect a numbskull like your prime minister to understand the English language) out of lockdown.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s Mr Murphy:

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Nurses urged to strike after Sunak offered them nothing. But how can they?

Undervalued, underpaid, overstressed: nurses need a fair deal but they won’t get it unless they strike. How can they do that without harming patients?

It’s the classic dilemma for nurses: how can they campaign for fair pay and conditions when striking may harm NHS patients?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak spat in the faces of nurses across the UK in his Budget speech yesterday (March 3), which did not even mention the National Health Service.

It was a deliberate insult to the healthcare workers who have suffered and sacrificed – some losing their lives – in the face of government failure to provide even the most basic protective equipment when it was needed.

It seems Tories think applause is all that nurses deserve. Meanwhile they are working overtime or using credit to be able to pay essential bills, and using food banks to be able to eat.

They have lost both their mental and physical health, struggling to come to terms with the horrors they have witnessed while trying to cope with Covid-19, underfunded, understaffed and underequipped by the Tories.

This is a national scandal.

Campaigning organisation Nurses United UK says health staff need to think seriously about strike action. Health unions have been demanding an immediate – restorative – pay rise of between 12.5 and 15 per cent.

That’s just to bring pay back up to the level that nurses have lost in the 11 years since the Tories took office.

The Tories, it seems, consider this demand to be “one for the fairies“.

But then, as Nurses United lead organiser Anthony Johnson pointed out – it must be better than giving billions to Tory donors in return for nothing at all:

This Government is weak – that is why they u-turn so often. They know that people are watching and demanding that rather than giving billions to their donors, they invest in the people of this country.

But we come back to the crux of the matter: if nurses strike, they won’t harm the Tory government – they’ll harm sick people who don’t deserve worse treatment.

Perhaps targeted strike action – to ruin Tory press junkets in hospitals or withdraw coverage for Tory projects – is the answer?

Source: Pay campaigner asks nurses to ‘seriously consider industrial action’ | NursingNotes

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Budget response by the Leader of the Opposition to the Tory Government

Here it is.

It is particularly enlightening where it refers to the Member for Hayes & Harlington:

You didn’t really expect this to be a video of Keir Starmer, did you?

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Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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