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Cut after cut after cut March 8, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

It’s astounding reading this in advance of UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first budget today to see how the Tories continue, despite Brexit, despite all else, to be utterly wedded to cuts.

Hammond is also constrained by the policies of his predecessor, George Osborne, who plugged holes in the public finances with a range of stealth taxes that are on course to push the tax burden in 2018 to 37% of GDP – the highest level in 30 years.

And yet the chancellor needs more cash to cope with a deteriorating position across a range of departments, from health and social care to schools, prisons, the police and local government. Local authorities are scheduled to lose 80% of their central government funds by 2019-20 from a high point in 2008. Will Hammond want to be responsible, not just for the nation’s parks looking dishevelled, but for pushing councils to the edge of breaching their legal responsibilities for providing mandatory services, such as children’s mental healthcare?


Hammond is also attempting to release funds for infrastructure spending and business subsidies outlined in the autumn statement by cutting back further on Whitehall departments in the years to come. He has demanded further cuts amounting to £3.5bn by the end of the parliament. This sum is in addition to departmental cuts already going through the system and £12bn of welfare cuts targeted at housing benefit and tax credits, which will deliver real-terms cuts in every year and maintain the combined cost of these two benefits at £50bn until 2019-20.


The Treasury says there are efficiency savings to be made by the police and other government services. But the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank says that many of the savings are illusory and cuts will hit frontline services.

This brings home in cold clinical detail the reality of Tory rule and its implications at this time. And keep in mind it’s not likely to end any time soon.

And of course it’s not just cuts. In the same paper at the weekend this was noted:

This all makes for rather nice headlines and will no doubt prompt Hammond to utter soothing words about how the UK can embark on Brexit negotiations from a firm footing.

But here’s what the chancellor will not tell you: living costs have gone up and will continue to do so. The poorest will be hit hardest as the cost of essentials such as food and heating take a growing chunk out of already tight family budgets. Wages will struggle to match rises in inflation and the government’s benefit cuts mean that incomes will fall for the poorest people in Britain. In short, unless the government does something significant to improve living standards this week, inequality will start rising again.

But the Tories are ideologically incapable of ‘doing something’ along the lines necessary.

But the bigger picture is that in the middle of a rise in living costs, welfare cuts are piling on extra pressure and tax changes are helping the wealthy more than the poor.

Features for them, not glitches.


1. EWI - March 8, 2017

Here’s a thought: kill the money (?billion by this stage) for the Trident repkacement.


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