All in this together....?
The Autumn Statement laid that lie to rest. The Toxic Tories are back. And how.
Strip away the rhetoric and guff and what remains? An attack on the poorest in our society to help pay for the excesses of the richest. There was much talk of austerity and the need for belt-tightening......but not for the rich. Austerity and belt-tightening are for the poor and the powerless.
Search through the small print and there is nothing about the rich paying their share. Tax avoidance and evasion? Nothing - apart from the fact that a further 12,000 tax inspectors are being laid off. Tax on property over £1m? Nothing - again despite stamp duty on such properties being routinely avoided by the use of offshore havens. Bankers still pay themselves obscene bonuses. They can relax. Nothing further will go to the victims of their excesses. The footsie top 100 companies paid their directors an average 49% more and also increased their pensions too. The boss of Barclays pays himself 75 times the amount an average Barclays worker earns but can have peace of mind that the tax system is firmly on his side. The Tobin tax on financial transactions has been ruled out.
Meanwhile back in austerity land.......
Osborne angered the public sector by holding down pay rises to 1% over the next two years when inflation is currently over 5% and rising. This follows two years of zero pay rises. Many public sector workers are among the lowest paid and 73% are women. A further 700,000 are expected to lose their jobs in the next couple of years.
Then there are the children.
Barnardo’s described the statement as, “A desperate state of affairs when the government’s own analysis shows that a further 100,000 children will be pushed into poverty as a result of tax and benefit changes announced today.” There are already 300,000 children in poverty as a result of Osborne’s previous cuts.
Disgraceful and shaming.
Polly Toynbee summed up the situation in The Guardian yesterday:
“The gap between what they say and do is now exposed. The injustice of how the pain has been shared is breath-taking. A windfall taking just one year's bank bonuses would pay for all the cuts in youth services and the EMA for the next 23 years. That's just one example. Osborne is fatally wrong on the economy, as his deficit target slips by two years in just the past eight months. But even if his straitjacket were necessary, the pain would be politically acceptable only if justly shared. The Bullingdon budget tears the last veil of deceit, leaving the nasty party naked for all to see. But every school will get its King James Bible with Michael Gove's presumptuous foreword: is prayer all that's left?”
Meanwhile, what about the Liberals? What are they doing about this attack on the poor? How do they feel about the lack of commitment to tackling tax evasion?
“The parties agree that tackling tax avoidance is essential for the new government, and that all efforts will be made to do so, including detailed development of Liberal Democrat proposals.” Coalition Agreement, May 2010
As the Autumn Statement makes clear - that is just so much bollocks.