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Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Another Tory Budget, Yet Another Broken Promise #HammeredByHammond

I'll keep this brief. You've probably read enough analysis of what the budget means for you, so I'll let the professionals do the number crunching, and dinner won't cook itself.

The first word from the Shadow Chancellor when he appeared in the BBC studios after Hammond's Budget speech summed up how I felt after around an hour of monotone drivel. That word was "disgusting". Shortly before this I actually fely quite ill watching Laura Kuenssberg gushing over a "relaxed" Philip Hammond, she was loving the jokes scribbled down for him by some pratt at CCHQ.

Its disgusting for many reasons. The first one that springs to mind is yet another broken promise. The vow in the Tories 2015 General Election manifesto was clear: There was to be no rise in VAT, Income Tax and National Insurance. Here is David Cameron, sleeves rolled up, lying through his teeth. Labour dismissed the pledge at the time as a "ridiculous gimmick". May can send out one Treasury Minister after another and it won't change the facts. They can scream all they like about technicalities, they lied, plain and simple.

It's hardly the first time. Do you remember George Osborne's pledge on VAT back in 2010? As soon as they got in government they increased it from 17.5% to 20%. They lie and lie but the electorate just keep swallowing the spoon-fed mainstream media narrative of a Prime Minister in control. Anyone outside of the bubble can see she is anything but in control.

The Budget also failed to address the huge and growing problem of rough sleeping. The governments own figures show 4.134 people are sleeping rough. Charities have said this is likely to be grossly underestimated. What the figure does reveal is a 16% increase on the previous year. Austerity in action. Why wasn't this prioritised? That is disgusting and made even worse by a Chancellor proudly bragging about how much tax big corporations are having to pay.

It's disgusting because it did nothing to offer any hope to the 124.000 homeless children that are propped up in temporary accommodation, families in bedsits, many staying in vastly overpriced privately rented accommodation. The winners are the landlords, rubbing their hands with glee because they know the local authority needs that home, so they hike the price up. The losers are the tax payer. If this government focused on adequate council housing (that's social housing kids) and not "affordable homes" starting from £450,000, we may actually get somewhere.

And what about this? When George Osborne introduced the 'National Living Wage' (an increase in the Minimum Wage for the over 25s), he said it "will rise to £9 an hour by 2020." 

Buried in a footnote on page 58 of the OBR report on today's budget is an admission that it will probably be significantly less than that. It says "The level of the National Living Wage consistent with our forecast has been revised down slightly since November – from £8.80 to £8.75 an hour in 2020, reflecting revisions to our earnings growth forecast." Disgusting Mr Hammond, absolutely disgusting. How strange you chose not to mention this.

So in short, this was a budget that offered a sticking plaster for social care, not a solution to the massive cuts it has endured under Tory rule since 2010. This was a budget that offered nothing of any real substance for an NHS that is on its knees. An extra GP in A&E's is all very well and good, but, they are Tories, they cut staff numbers, not increase them. This budget offered more joy for big corporations and those with a lot more than most of us, but it offered nothing for homeless people, nothing for disabled people, nothing for an education system in crisis, nothing for people working all the hours they can, but they still need to use a food bank and rely on the kindness of others to get by.

This budget was disgusting, and I commend it to the cesspit of political history.


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