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Tory chancellor George Osborne declared today, Wednesday, “The message from this budget is this: You’ve earned it, you’ve saved it. This government is on your side”.
That’s true if you are well off.
But if you don’t earn enough to save up to £15,000 a year, if you can’t afford a private pension, if you struggle to find work or to afford childcare so you can work, then Osborne finds you irrelevant.
The Tories have capped total welfare spending. That means they will argue there have to be more cuts to benefits. The amount spent on welfare, as a percentage of national output, is set to fall steadily over the next five years.
Osborne set a cap on overall annual welfare spending of £119.5 billion for the first year of the next parliament.
Osborne has already said he wants to see £12 billion more sliced off the welfare bill — currently £112.5 billion — in the two years following the May 2015 general election. Labour has said it will vote for the cap.
He made a series of pension changes that mostly affect people with private pensions. They will be able to cash in their pensions and will pay some tax on it.
In contrast according to the Treasury’s own figures the poorest 20 percent of people will be £817 worse off because of changes brought in by George Osborne’s budgets.
The poorest 30 percent of people are all directly worse off because of this budget. Across Britain an average worker earns £2,000 less in real terms than they did in 2010. The real value of average earning is down 13.8 percent since 2008.
The Tories’ tame Office of Budget Responsibility have said wages won’t get back to 2008 levels until at least the end of 2017 — later than they had previously predicted.
Osborne’s talk of helping manufacturing in reality was tax breaks to bosses.
The announced clampdown on tax avoidance just involves making people pay tax for disputed schemes and if they are ruled OK they get a rebate.
Emergency service workers are excluded from inheritance tax. Which sounds nice but very few emergency service workers pay inheritance tax because the inheritance has to be worth £325,000.
Osborne announced the building of a new town at Ebbsfleet. But the Tories announced it two years ago and it still isn’t built. Osborne also announced a tax on private jets to prove they are not just for the rich. But he then cut taxes onCaribbean holidays.
He cut the cost of, as Cameron once called it, “the green crap” to business.
Osborne also cut taxes on bingo companies.
The chancellor told MPs, “None of these decisions are easy, but they are the right thing to ensure Britain lives within her means.”
The cuts are hurting millions of working class people and the message from the chancellor is they will get worse.
On the current figures there are another £25 billion of public sector cuts to come after the next election. He was looking for votes. We need to look to resistance.
Simon is a writer for Socialist Worker.