The Autumn Statement

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis

After the previous chancellor’s policies of balancing the books were ditched and Teresa May’s vow to save the JAMS, the 9 million people who are ”just about managing”, apparently forgotten, new Chancellor Philip Hammond hasn’t done much. The Tories appeal to workers amounted to banning some up front fees for tenants, raising the National Living Wage for over 25s and slightly slowing the planned welfare cuts of £12bn. Austerity will carry on endlessly.

Measures to address inadequate infrastructure and housing are woefully weak. ”Affordable housing” (which is usually unaffordable) schemes are unclear and no substitute for what is needed — large scale council house building. An investment fund for smaller local projects could produce what is needed locally, a 30 minute train journey to Norwich and 45 minute one to Ipswich, but it won’t. We will still get nuclear weapons, vast spending on unproven nuclear power projects, and spend and hope projects like the third Heathrow runway and H52, which is more likely to harm the north than help it. And probably more wars. Yet he managed to maintain another cut to corporation tax. That is the way post-Brexit Britain is going.

What The Chancellor Didn’t Mention

Chancellor Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond

What the chancellor didn’t mention was that the decimation of the NHS will carry on. He didn’t mention that the cuts to the funding of local authorities will carry on regardless of the collapse of social care it is causing. He didn’t mention that the underfunding of education will become chronic so that skills of every kind will continue to decline. He didn’t mention that those already poor will suffer most and that inequality between the top few per cent and the rest will continue to deepen. And it is that which is likely to bring the sorry mess to an end.

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