When the Tory Chancellor rises to present his November Budget Statement tomorrow, don’t expect any real good news for working class people. “Britain is the 6th wealthiest country in the world yet we have a record number of families using Food Banks thanks to a social security system that has been ripped apart leaving tens of thousands of people destitute. It was not an oversight that the new Universal Credit leaves claimants without money for a minimum of 6 weeks and sometimes months on end but deliberate policy to starve people back to work and remove vital support from those in work but on desperately low incomes. Meanwhile wages for the many have continued to fall in real terms, whilst wealth for the few has snowballed” said Martin Mayer, United Left Chair.
We are told the country is laden with debt and can’t afford to fund our public services. Yet tax reductions for millionaires and big business have been enormous since the Tories came to office in 2010. The top rate of tax was reduced from 45% to 40% which gave an annual tax rebate of literally £100,000s to the super rich. Corporation tax has been reduced from 28% to 19% already, a lower rate than ordinary workers pay under PAYE. The Tory Chancellor has indicated he will reduce it further to 17% in tomorrow’s statement.
“Obscene Tory priorities mean the super rich and big business not only get massive tax breaks, but nothing is done to recover the £100B per year of taxation that is avoided or evaded by the rich and powerful, or simply not collected by a resource-starved Inland Revenue. The Tories connive in the culture of low or no taxation for the few whilst the tax burden increasing falls on the many” added Martin Mayer, “as further scandals like the Paradise Papers revealed”.
“Of course there is enough money to fully fund essential services like our NHS and schools” said Martin Mayer “but there is simply not the political will to do it from the Tories. Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity”.
Will the Tories abolish the public sector pay cap and fully fund an above inflation pay rise to begin to make up for the losses every single public sector worker has suffered since 2010?
Will the Tories reverse the massive spending cuts that have brought our NHS to crisis point and starved our schools of the resources needed to provide a world class education?
Will the Tories address the housing crisis and embark on a mass public building programme of council houses to provide desperately needed low cost affordable housing? Or will they just make vague promises that private builders will be encouraged to build 300,000 houses for sale, and throw money at well-off first time buyers?
Will the Tories raise the National Minimum wage to £10 per hour and abolish zero hours contracts and bogus self-employment?
Will the Tories abolish student debt and release millions of young people from the burden of 6% interest now that the student debt has been privatised?
Will the Tories tomorrow announce a multi-billion pound public investment programme to kick start the economy, get people back to work and increase tax revenue to the Exchequer to pay off the debt?
“The answer is no to all of these things” said Martin Mayer “and instead we will be distracted by news of small changes to excise duties on alcohol and petrol, changes to land use regulations to help private builders, and probably a further reduction in corporation tax for the Tories’ friends in the City”.
“Britain is the most divided country in Europe with the gap between the richest 5% and the remaining 95% higher than any comparable country other than USA” said Martin Mayer. “The Tories are incapable of making the changes we need to mend this broken system. They need to go – and allow a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn to begin the massive task of rebuilding our economy and reversing years of robbery from the many to the few”