Mocking the Labour Party’s modest policies, Chancellor George Osborne called his emergency budget “a Budget for working people” but his “new settlement” sounded rather like a Russian tzar tossing brass coins to his gullible serfs.
TUC leaders must have winced when Osborne grabbed their late slogan and declared that “Britain needs a pay rise”. The minimum wage goes up from £6.50 to £7.50 for over 25s from April. Employers could neutralise this by cutting hours. Cuts to benefits will anyway make 5m workers much worse off than they are now. Capping benefits will drive some from their homes; those with larger families will be worst hit. The spending cuts will help pay off the debt incurred by rescuing the banks.
Some get real benefits. Osborne announced another cut to Corporation Tax, down to 19%, the lowest in the G7 (7 richest nations). An increase in the personal Income Tax allowance to £11,000 next year applies to everyone not just the lowest earners, while the higher rate threshold will rise to £43,300 in 2017 at which point 40p in the pound is paid on income above that level. There are no higher bands. A couple with up to £650,000 now pay no Inheritance Tax; in future wealthy families will be able to pass on £1m without paying anything.
Young people get it hard. The new minimum wage won’t apply to them; they won’t be entitled to housing benefit. Student grants which help the poorest are to be abolished.
The next big privatisation is the BBC. |ts income is effectively cut and this beacon of high quality and a degree of impartiality will be neutered. Greedy media moguls and vengeful Tories intend to strip it to the bone. We will be offered more programmes, mainly rubbish, and have to pay many times the cost of the BBC licence for it.
And Yet More…
Osborne then asked for plans for two scenarios — further cuts of 25% and 40%. They include mergers and cuts to local councils with whole services being scrapped or privatised, public service pay cuts, and so on.
Multi-millionaire George Osborne, the man who wants to be Prime Minister, is aiming to privatise much of the state. Corporations and wealthy private individuals will enrich themselves while the workers they employ will see their pay and conditions degraded. Ask the workers at CareUK, the awful company Suffolk County Council chose to sell its care homes to.