After George Osborne’s Birmingham speech, the consequences of a Tory return to office after the next general election are crystal clear. As you might expect it is not a good prospect for ordinary British workers and their families.
Osborne confirmed he planned to cut spending by a total of £25 billion in 2016 and 2017, on top of cuts of £17 billion this year and £20 billion next year. This.continues the Tory philosophy of hammering ordinary British workers to provide tax cuts for the rich.
He wants to means-test ‘better-off’ council tenants out of their homes and to end housing benefit for under-25s, (they are already restricted to the pitiful shared accommodation rate). He defended this in an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme, Osborne said he would seek to achieve some of the £12bn savings by targeting housing benefit for under-25s and by means-testing people on incomes of £60,000 to £70,000 who live in social housing. Whitehall sources say that targeting those two areas would produce “laughable” savings. Department of Communities and Local Government figures show that the 11,000 to 21,000 council tenants, who earn more than £60,000 a year, each cost the taxpayer £3,600 a year. Targeting this group would produce savings of £40m-£76m a year.
Department of Work and Pensions figures show that 351,678 people under the age of 25 claim housing benefit at a cost of £1.8bn. Of these 55.6% of these are parents, which means the cuts would not apply to them. Osborne’s plan would therefore produce savings of £827.4m in this area. But Whitehall sources suggested this figure could be reduced to as low as £50m once other groups among the under-25s, such as victims of domestic violence, are excluded from housing benefit cuts. “It is laughable that you can get anywhere near £12bn in cuts this way,” one source said.
So expect more cuts than those indicated!
Osborne is remarkably honest (for a politician!), however, in making it plain that his austerity agenda is not linked to tackling the effects of the 2008 bankers crisis.
He declares openly that government and the welfare state must both become “permanently smaller.”
This is the economic agenda of the international financial agencies that tell individual nation states to compete in a race to the bottom. They want to privatise publicly owned industries and destroy the postwar improvements won by workers in Britain and other European states.
The NHS, state education, council housing, decent pensions, unemployment and other welfare services and benefits constituted a social wage to make life better.
Many of these reforms were championed by the ‘Left’ as anyone who has viewed the excellent ‘Spirit of ‘45’ can tell you. Yet there is no effective ‘Left’ to defend, let alone extend, these vital services. Who is arguing the benefits to our country in pooling risks and making sure everyone in our Nation is looked after?
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, communist parties have all but disappeared while many socialist/social-democratic parties have simply adopted Capitalist doctrine.
Osborne and his ilk see their opportunity to roll back working-class historical gains by challenging opponents to offer an alternative approach to the austerity agenda. Radical Nationalists must provide that alternative.