Tag Archives: Chancellor

More Tory than the Tories: that’s Labour’s new shadow chancellor

Keir Starmer must be really desperate to divert blame for Labour’s diabolical performance in the English local elections off himself.

He has launched a shadow cabinet reshuffle that has already been dubbed a right-turn so hard it would give you whiplash.

Nowhere is this clearer than in his appointment of Rachel (more Tory than the Tories) Reeves as shadow chancellor.

Ms Reeves is the Labour politician (never forget) who, as shadow Work and Pensions Secretary back in 2013, vowed to be “tougher than the Tories” on benefit claimants.

The former banker said a Labour government with her as Work and Pensions Secretary would be tougher than the Tories on benefit claimants, in order to reduce the national benefits bill – a bill which, by the way, has always been entirely affordable.

Two years later, in 2015, she unilaterally cut millions of UK citizens and voters from Labour’s target electorate by saying the party did not want to represent people who don’t have a job.

“We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work,” she said.

“Labour are a party of working people, formed for and by working people.”

So, according to Ms Reeves, nobody currently claiming Universal Credit because of the Covid-19 crisis should expect help from Labour. Have I got that right?

I’ll admit, that’s an extreme conclusion to draw, but it is clear that, as Labour MPs go, Reeves is an extreme right-winger.

Don’t forget that the Tories have modelled themselves as “the party of the workers” in recent years. They love working people because working people generate the profits their donors send to their offshore bank accounts.

In promoting Reeves, Starmer has sent a very clear message to the electorate – that we can all go to hell as far as he cares. He’s in politics for himself and nobody else.

Why do I say this? Simple.

Commentators are going to be so horrified that Reeves is now in one of Labour’s top jobs that they’ll forget about Starmer’s abysmal election. Or at least that’s what he’s hoping, I reckon.

It mustn’t work. Labour’s election campaign was run from Starmer’s office and as leader he is ultimately responsible for it. The buck stops with him and he should not be trying to pass it onto those he has sacked already or will sack in the immediate future.

And Reeves will be a terrible shadow chancellor. Critics may have attacked former shadow chancellor Annaliese Dodds for failing to challenge the Tories adequately – but, again, it is likely that she was hamstrung by Starmer.

Reeves is likely to agree with every single penny-pinching policy the Tories produce for the purposes of garotting us.

Finally, let’s not forget that by promoting Reeves, Starmer is contradicting his own policy on anti-Semitism because – as we all know – Reeves is a supporter of anti-Semites.

She infamously praised Nancy Astor who, besides being the first female MP, was a notorious anti-Semite, Nazi idealogue and supporter of Hitler.

That’s the extent of Rachel Reeves’s right-wing tendencies. Starmer should be expelling, not promoting her.

Source: Labour reshuffle: Anneliese Dodds out in Starmer’s post-election reshuffle – BBC News

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Will Starmer really sack Annaliese Dodds because he won’t take responsibility for his own record?

Fake: Keir Starmer seems keen to pretend that Annaliese Dodds is responsible for the poor position Labour has taken in the polls since HE became the party’s figurehead. Or is he faking it, and will deny any truth to it if the suggestion backfires?

It’s being mooted that Keir Starmer is set to sack Annaliese Dodds as Shadow Chancellor because Labour has plummeted in the polls. Isn’t that his fault?

Apparently it will be claimed that Dodds – who has been nigh-on invisible for the last year or so, unlike Starmer – has failed to effectively communicate Labour’s “vision”.

That would be a fair comment if Labour currently had a “vision” to communicate – but Starmer has stamped on all attempts to signpost where Labour is going, instead pursuing a policy of jumping on every bandwagon he can find.

It is Starmer’s Labour that has dropped in the polls; and Starmer himself has also plummeted.

So it is Starmer who should accept the roasting that has been dealt out to him on the social media since the alleged sacking-to-be seeped into public knowledge yesterday (March 28). Here’s a sample:

What’s the betting that this doesn’t happen now, and that Starmer had leaked it just to see whether it would take some of the heat off of him?

It wouldn’t be the first time he has adopted a Tory tactic!

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Sunak says home workers should spend cash they’ve saved when the pandemic ends. Including him?

Rishi Sunak’s last big idea was ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ – which pushed up Covid-19 infections dramatically. Now he wants us to spend all our savings to buoy up the economy after the crisis ends – but you’ll notice he hasn’t announced that he’ll do the same.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that people who work at home, and who have saved significant amounts of money during the Covid-19 pandemic, should spend it all when the emergency is over.

Does that include him?

He works from home – he lives at 11 Downing Street. And we all recently learned that he has enormous amounts of cash saved up, via his wife’s £430 million stake in her family firm.

So we should welcome his demand – right?

Well… maybe not.

He hasn’t said that he will be leading by example, after all.

He has merely demanded that people like This Writer – I work from home (although I can’t say I have built up large amounts of savings) – splurge everything that we have. He hasn’t mentioned anything about doing the same himself – or that other super-rich Tories should do so.

So this is just a call for people – who are normally poor but have become slightly richer – to throw away everything that they’ve saved.

And people have cottoned on to his con:

Personally, I am looking forward to Sunak’s announcement that he has spent his vast wealth to help regenerate the UK’s economy – and to seeing evidence of this spending.

When he has done this, I hope to see this example leading other super-rich members of the UK’s communities to do the same.

Only when they have put their cash into restoration work should the demand trickle down to those of us who are less rich than Rishi and his Tory chums.

That’s right – trickle down. This is one instance where the “trickle down” effect might actually work in the way Tories and other neoliberals used to pretend; not with money gathered by the super-rich trickling down to benefit poorer people, but with cash spent by them revitalising the economy for everyone.

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Sunak announces furlough scheme replacement. Is it any good?

After he served up this little howler – and pushed up Covid-19 infections massively, Rishi Sunak needs to make a good impression with his plan to replace the furlough scheme for jobs affected by Covid-19. Has he managed it?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new “job support scheme” to replace the “furlough” programme he has been running since lockdown began in March.

This new scheme will run for another six months until the end of April 2021.

What is it?

A six-month scheme starting on November 1.

To be eligible, employees must work a minimum of 33 per cent of their normal hours.

For the remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay one-third of the wages each.

So employees working 33 per cent of their hours will receive at least 77 per cent of their pay.

Where will employers get the extra money?

According to BBC News:

Sunak announced a “pay as you grow” scheme for businesses which took government guaranteed loans during the crisis.

“Loans can now be extended from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment,” he said.

They can also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are “in real trouble” for up to six months.

He said no credit rating will be affected.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be extended for up to 10 years.

There will also be a new loan scheme in January, the chancellor says.

He is also extending the scheme for self-employment on “similar terms” to the existing job support scheme.

The scheme is mainly for small and medium-sized firms. Only large firms that can prove they have been harmed by Covid will be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.

What about VAT?

Sunak is also cancelling the planned increase of VAT from five per cent to 20 per cent, which was due to come into effect in January.

Instead, the lower rate of five per cent will remain until 31 March next year.

Viable jobs?

Sunak said the new scheme is intended to support “viable” jobs only – and that should ring alarm bells:

Of course – Tories being Tories – certain extremely rich people are enjoying the continuation of their own subsidies at the same level:

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Rishi Sunak thinks taking cash from the starving poor is the way to pay for Covid-19

Remember this? It led to a huge rise in Covid-19 infections. Now Sunak is planning to make the poor pay for his mistakes.

The absolute state of this.

The Chancellor who told us to “eat out to help out” – triggering an exponential increase in Covid-19 infections that led to new restrictions – is now trying to work out how the UK will pay for his government’s mistakes.

And of course he isn’t going to ask the filthy-rich corporates who have made a fortune while the crisis has been happening to pay a bit more.

No – he wants to grind you further into the dirt:

Rishi Sunak has looked at a freeze on benefits and public sector pay to fight the spiralling cost of the coronavirus crisis, it is reported today.

Sources failed to rule out the crushing blow to millions of workers and the poorest – just a few years after long austerity freezes finally ended.

The Chancellor is also said to be trying to persuade Boris Johnson to suspend the “triple lock” on pensions, reports the Mail on Sunday – amid fears it will artificially rise due to the economic turmoil.

So he’ll freeze wages and benefits at a time when his boss Boris Johnson’s international law-breaking Brexit is likely to cause massive price increases on basic food items.

And he wants to freeze pensions as well, to put the pensioners who were left after his government’s Covid-19-fuelled cull into the same predicament.

It has all been about protecting the super-rich, of course. The lockdown that was supposed to kill off Covid-19 didn’t, because Sunak, Johnson and their gang wanted to get us all back to the coalface, making money for the big corporate bosses who donate to the Tory party.

Now, despite the fact that this corporates have increased their riches steadily over the course of the pandemic, Sunak still doesn’t dare tap them to help pay for the results of their government lackeys’ efforts to keep them in gravy.

And this creep was supposed to be the great white hope of the Conservative Party?

Source: Rishi Sunak ‘considers freezing benefits and wages’ to pay for Covid crisis – Mirror Online

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Yes, it is more ‘meal deal’ than ‘new deal’ – but Sunak’s summer statement isn’t ALL bad

Rishi Sunak: his job could be hanging on the result of this plan. Shame it has already been sabotaged by his boss Boris Johnson.

It didn’t matter what Rishi Sunak was going to say in his summer statement because Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the other Tories had already sabotaged it.

Sunak’s objective is to save jobs while the UK works through the post-Covid recession, but his problem is that his colleagues’ insistence on easing lockdown means the Coronavirus isn’t over yet – no matter what Johnson says.

In this nation of shopkeepers (as Napoleon had it), if we want to keep people in their jobs, we need to keep spending money into – and through – the economy. That means going out and paying for things.

But the number of new infections in the UK is high – and will remain so, while Johnson insists on helping the virus infect other people by opening pubs, schools, and whatever else he’s planning next.

That means people are going to be reluctant to resume normal patterns of social consumption.

It’s going to be difficult in the extreme to restore confidence after these Tory blunders. After schools and pubs, Johnson can claim it is our social duty to go back out and spend until he is redder in the face than the gammons he represents, but the public will only hear him telling us to go out, catch the virus and die.

That’s the second hurdle that Sunak faces; thanks to Johnson, public trust in the claims of politicians is at an all-time low, being worsened all the time by his insistence on lying whenever the mood takes him and refusing to apologise when his lies are exposed.

So the ending of the furlough scheme in October is directly counter-productive; watch the number of redundancies increase when that month comes round and try to tell me I’m wrong.

The offer of a £1,000 “jobs retention bonus” is likely to fall similarly flat. The conditions are that employees must be carrying out proper work, and be paid at least £520 per month – the lower limit of National Insurance payment – and it seems unlikely that many employers will be able to manage this.

Similarly, the VAT cut from 20 per cent to just five per cent to help out restaurants, pubs, cafes, B&Bs, hotels, theme parks and cinemas may only have limited success. Who’s going to go, if there’s a chance they’ll catch a fatal disease?

Sector-specific stimuli such as this are a good idea – don’t get me wrong – and this would work if the number of Covid infections was much lower than it is (in England, at least) – and if more people were interested in wearing face masks, perhaps (how would that work, when they’re eating food?) – but as I’ve already mentioned, Johnson has put a stop to that with his ridiculous blunderings.

And the already-infamous “meal deal” voucher, offering 50 per cent of the cost of meals for everybody eating out between Monday and Wednesday, throughout August, may go hungry for customers. Here’s the reason:

On the other hand, raising the threshold for stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 might conceivably be a good idea, if it stimulates construction work as people are encouraged to buy new homes.

Possibly best of all the measures laid out in the statement was a scheme to create jobs for young people, subsidising six-month work placements for people aged 16-24.

If this is used to re-skill the workforce – actually preparing the UK for future opportunities – then it has enormous merit.

But I can see employers using it as a cheap alternative to the workers they already have. Why take just £1,000 over three months to keep on your current workforce when the Tories will give you a teenager for twice as long and pay all of their costs?

So my initial verdict is that this is final proof of the Conservative government’s economic illiteracy; they really couldn’t run a p***-up in a brewery.

But it would be wrong to pre-judge a plan that hasn’t gone into practice yet.

The sad part is that this may break Sunak but Johnson will laugh it off, no matter how disastrous the result.

Source: Coronavirus: Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils £30bn plan to save jobs – BBC News

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Will employers be able to pay Sunak’s furlough demand?

Rishi Sunak: his plans for his furlough scheme are optimistic, to say the least.

These people are mistaken:

But they’re not very far off the mark!

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak had said that he would make an announcement about the furlough scheme – in which the government pays 80 per cent of employees’ wages while they are unable to work, in exchange for employers agreeing not to end their contracts – today, May 12.

And he had been expected to say that the government could no longer pay that proportion of wages and would be reducing it to 60 per cent.

Something stopped him.

Was it the argument that John McDonnell put forward – that on top of Boris Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown, announced on Sunday, this would be an obvious attempt to starve employees back into work, even though they would probably catch the coronavirus there?

Was it the point that many employees simply cannot go back, because their jobs are still not considered safe enough – by the government itself?

Was it the suggestion that cutting down the amount furloughed workers are being paid would turn the coronavirus crisis into the UK’s worst disaster in a century – made that way by the Tories and on their watch?

It won’t have been the thought of tipping more people into poverty; Tories have no problem with that at all.

In This Writer’s view, he was probably persuaded by the thought that too many employees would be adversely affected – and would make this clear in no uncertain terms. Tories are constantly concerned about public relations.

So instead, he has extended the 80 per cent wage payment subsidy to August, with a demand that the government contribution will be reduced from that date and employers will pay into it as well.

He has said nothing about how large the employer contribution will be – meaning all he has done is added more uncertainty to the coronavirus crisis.

And where are the employers going to get the money?

Sure, Sunak said employers would be able to bring furloughed workers back part-time by then – but he cannot guarantee that.

Indeed, considering the lunacy that followed Boris Johnson’s announcement that some people should go back to work from yesterday (May 11), it seems likely that the UK will be well into its second wave of coronavirus infections by then.

And employers have been paying the overheads on property, equipment and so on, for months.

It seems Mr Sunak has made a few highly-optimistic assumptions.

Won’t it be humiliating for this Tory Chancellor if he turns out to have got his sums wrong?

  • I’d like to hear from employers: what do you think of Rishi Sunak’s declaration?

Source: UK furlough scheme extended by four months – BBC News

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Chancellor’s ‘jam tomorrow’ package for the self-employed is worse than useless now

Rishi Sunak: still discriminating against the self-employed? Why not just bring in Universal Basic Income? Then we can all relax.

How kind of Rishi Sunak to announce aid for self-employed workers who are likely to lose money because of the coronavirus crisis – except he didn’t did he?

He made a vague promise that we (This Writer is self-employed) might be able to get a grant of up to 80 per cent of our profits, which is taxable, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month – but not until at least the beginning of June, more than two months from now.

Oh, but we can claim Universal Credit in the meantime – except we can’t, because thousands upon thousands of people are queuing online and on the phone and the Department for Work and Pensions simply can’t cope with the deluge. We will lose valuable time just trying to announce that we want to claim, and even more in the processing of that claim.

Employees of companies who signed up to the government’s scheme for them can get their money straight away. Why not the self-employed?

Is this some back-handed attack on people who actually contribute to the economy on their own initiative?

Here’s a visual representation of the way Sunak and the Tories expect us to live:

It has already attracted flack.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the delay was unacceptable: “If people cannot get access to the scheme until June it will simply be too late for millions. People need support in the coming days and fortnight. Asking people to rely on Universal Credit when more than 130,000 people are queuing online will be worrying to many people, so there is a real risk that without support until June the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others’ health at risk.”

Stephen Timms, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, pointed out that a wait until June simply isn’t practical: “Few will have enough in the bank to tide them over until then, so they’ll have to rely on Universal Credit in the meantime. The Committee heard yesterday that that system is already buckling under the pressure of half a million new claims. The Government must now do all it can to shore it up, so people get the money they need, and quickly. And the Advance, payable up-front to those who need it, should be made non-repayable.”

Sunak said devising a scheme had been “difficult” and it would be “operationally complicated” – but this has attracted no sympathy from anybody who knows anything at all about it.

It’s the biggest advert for implementing a Universal Basic Income scheme – in which everybody will receive enough money to support them, regardless of their circumstances – that the public could be shown.

Sunak and the other Tories have squirmed and dissembled and eventually brought forward scheme after scheme that is incredibly complicated – which means they are likely to go wrong, to the detriment of the people they are supposed to be helping.

UBI is simplicity itself – and has a lot of support:

UBI – it’s simple, it’s popular, and it’s immediate. But Sunak wants to bring in something complicated, slow (if it actually happens at all) and discriminatory. Why not get in touch with him and tell him which you would prefer?

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By discriminating against the self-employed, Sunak is risking coronavirus spread

Rishi Sunak: Why is he discriminating against the self-employed?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under pressure to stop discriminating against people who are self-employed – because he putting them at risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Sunak has announced a generous deal for employees who are ‘furloughed’ – kept in employment but unable to work because of the disease-related lockdown – of 80 per cent of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

Self-employed people get just £94.25 a week in Universal Credit – if they can navigate the “byzantine” application procedure. And they’ll have the same if they have to claim Employment and Support Allowance after contracting the virus.

Only 16 per cent of workers accept that this amount would meet their basic needs.

It is claimed Sunak is risking public health by discriminating against the self-employed in this way, because he is incentivising self-employed taxi-drivers, couriers, other gig economy workers and zero-hours contractors to keep working while ill.

Solicitors Leigh Day were to send a pre-action letter to the government on March 23, on behalf of the Independent Workers of Great Britain union, ahead of issuing proceedings for a High Court judicial review.

The Tories say it is “operationally very difficult” to put in place a scheme for the self-employed, similar to that for employees.

But the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) says it could be assessed and delivered through the self-assessment tax system that millions of self-employed workers already use.

One thing is certain: the longer this drags on, the more self-employed people will be at risk.

And the more self-employed people come under threat, the more likely it will seem that this is the Tories’ intention.

Source: Rishi Sunak under pressure to bail out self-employed | Politics | The Guardian

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.

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Sajid Javid helped cause the UK’s financial crisis. Why did BoJob make him CHANCELLOR?

I’ve had great fun using this picture of The Collector from Doctor Who in place of Sajid Javid. It turns out that the fictional character is a more honest villain than the new Chancellor.

I seem to be publishing a series on the uselessness of Boris Johnson’s new Conservative cabinet – so let’s discuss Sajid Javid.

The genius Yorkshireman who runs Another Angry Voice showed us that we all have reason to be angry about his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer, only a decade after he helped cause the financial crisis that unleashed a decade of pointless Tory austerity on us all.

Before we go on, let us all remember that there was absolutely no need at all for the Tory cuts to public services that we have endured. They have not cut the national debt. And the cuts to the deficit are in spite of the reductions in taxation of the rich that the Tories have insisted on making.

So their entire policy for the last nine years has had no point – other than the persecution of people with less money than the so-called One Per Cent.

Now read this:

Before his move into politics Javid was a banker at Deutsche Bank, where he sold complex financial derivatives called Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs).

CDOs were economic alchemy schemes designed to turn toxic bad debts into fake gold-plated investments.

The whole thing defied economic logic… they were junk investments that were bound to implode sooner or later.

If we’re charitable to Javid, then we could argue that he was a clueless dupe, naively selling a load of toxic junk in good faith simply because he was too stupid to investigate the products he was actually selling, and so poorly connected within the CDO industry that he was unaware of the open secret amongst his peers that the products he was selling as safe investments were actually bound-to-fail financial Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The other explanation is, of course, much worse. If Javid was smart enough to realise that the CDOs he was selling were bound-to-fail junk, and he was in on the open secret within the trade that they were certain to implode one day, yet he carried on selling them as safe investments to oblivious customers like other banks, pension funds, local and national governments, and insurance funds as low-risk investment opportunities, then he’s a cynical and duplicitous fraudster.

It’s an excellent argument that Mr Javid is unfit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. Indeed, it seems shadow chancellor John McDonnell has used it as the basis of his own argument that his appointment is inappropriate … but that is not the subject of the article you are reading now.

So, given that Mr Javid helped cause the crash, why did Boris Johnson make him Chancellor?

In the light of Mr Javid’s record, and of the Tories’ financial policies since May 2010, it seems clear that Mr Johnson sees him as the perfect man to keep those policies going.

Source: Sajid Javid is totally unfit to be Chancellor of the Exchequer

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.

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