It felt like a long time to go when, in 2012, then-Chancellor George Osborne meekly warned that the economy was “healing” more slowly than anticipated and that austerity may last until 2018.
Now 2018 is around the corner and instead of Britain seeing light at the end of the long and painful austerity tunnel, it’s clear following the Conservative government’s Autumn Budget that the age of austerity is far from over — and that the inequality gap in the world’s sixth richest country is widening.
Far from achieving Prime Minister Theresa May’s promises to tackle Britain’s “burning injustices”, several key members of her Social Mobility Commission (SMC) recently resigned in protest over the lack of progress towards “making Britain fairer”. Alan Milburn, a Labour politician and chair of the SMC, which monitors the progress of improving social mobility in the UK, quit the Commission earlier this month along with his whole team, citing months of “indecision, dysfunctionality and lack of leadership” and stating there was “little hope” that May’s administration would deliver a more equal society.
The humiliating SMC resignations came just days after the release of Chancellor Hammond’s Autumn Budget, which led multiple reports and organizations to warn that amid a gloomy economic forecast, Britain would maintain devastating cuts to public spending while, in typical Tory fashion, hitting the poorest households the hardest.
The Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank aimed at improving living standards for low- and middle-income families, is one organization that has voiced such warnings. In its aptly titled post-Budget report, “Freshly Squeezed”, the Foundation warns that Britain is on course for its longest fall in living standards since records began in the 1950s.
The report describes the unprecedented scale of today’s economic downturn and its likely impacts on public and household finances. It states that on a 10-year rolling basis, productivity growth in Britain is set…