GEORGE Osborne’s warning that his budget tomorrow will need to find another £18 billion in cuts, finally nails the lie that ideological austerity is about deficit reduction.
Back in 2010, Mr Osborne boasted that thanks to the severe cuts he was making then, the deficit would be eliminated by 2015. It hasn’t even halved. Mr Osborne has presided over the slowest economic recovery in recorded history and has run up more debt in six years than every Labour chancellor in history.
The austerity narrative is a con. It was never about reducing the deficit. It was designed as cover for Mr Osborne to transfer massive amounts of wealth to the super-rich. This is the only constituency that really matters.
An analysis by Oxfam reveals that the richest 1 per cent of Britons have received more than a quarter of the £4 trillion increase in national wealth since 2000. In a previous budget, Mr Osborne handed the UK’s income millionaires an average £100,000 a year tax cut and defended 200 per cent+ bankers’ bonuses from new European Union rules.
In terms of deficit reduction Tory ideological austerity has been an absolute disaster. It has seen cuts to services, education, disabled care, wages and pensions. From the stand point of rewarding corrupt bankers and hedge fund managers it has been a roaring success.
Gillespie Terrace, Dundee
It is refreshing to hear Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell proposing to spend only the money which comes in taxes, and to borrow only for investment.
The Tory austerity policies have led to a budget deficit this year of £70 billion, when George Osborne promised in 2011 that it would be nil. In his first budget, he knocked the stuffing out of the country by comparing it to Greece and increasing VAT and National Insurance. It is no wonder that growth and investment was stopped in its tracks.
It surely makes sense to borrow now to fund infrastructure projects while interest rates are so low. We need, for example, to build thousands of affordable houses.
This borrowing would then be paid back handsomely, as it would generate lots of good jobs, and the UK would receive more in income tax.
Keeping on cutting is a disaster for young and old and we need an alternative now.
Roseneath Street, Edinburgh