Socialist Party
| Print

24 March 2011

Budget fuels determination to fight back!

The chancellor of the exchequer's budget speech yesterday came as no relief at all to the many millions of people who are struggling to make ends meet and who are reeling under the onslaught of the government's austerity measures.

Judy Beishon

There was no deviating from the overall plan of inflicting devastating attacks on living standards and public services. A penny a litre off petrol and the raising of the threshold for paying income tax will not make anywhere near enough of a difference to people's lives.

And in any case these small concessions are given with one hand and taken back with another, as the budget is also cutting tax allowances. The announced help for first-time house buyers was described as a 'fig leaf' in a headline in the Times.

The paper quoted the managing director of 'Mortgages for Business' as saying: "The pool of buyers that qualify is so small you couldn't even have a bath in it".

Big business however was handed a multi-billion pound budget gift with the planned 1% cut in corporation tax next month being doubled to 2%. It will be cut by a total of 5% over the next three years.

Fearing workers' anger, chancellor George Osborne announced that the banks will not be allowed to benefit from this handout to the rich and that there will be a clampdown on a small proportion of the tax avoidance by companies in general and more tax extracted from some of the 'non-doms'.

But these measures will do very little to eat into the mega-profits being made by the multinationals. Bank profits alone have been 28 billion in this financial year.

Many of the top companies have more cash than they know what to do with - HSBC bank has estimated that the FTSE 100 companies are sitting on 110 billion of cash.

So why will throwing more money into their hands lead to productive investment and economic growth as the government pretends it will?

Osborne promised that economic growth will start to transform the overall situation and enable his targets on reducing public debt to be met. But no significant growth is materialising.

Contracted

Instead the economy contracted in the last quarter of 2010 and in the budget Osborne lowered his expectation for growth in 2011 from 2.1% to 1.7%.

This forecast adjustment means that the government intends to borrow 50 billion more over the next five years than previously planned. Its forecasts of over 2% growth in 2012 and 2013 are also likely to be overestimates or even wildly wrong.

Where is this growth going to come from when the spending power of working and middle class people is being massively squeezed by the austerity measures and there is no rosy outlook for exports?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that households will be 480 worse off on average this year as a result of the government's attacks. The budget surrepticiously adds to the future squeezing of people's incomes, for instance by uprating tax allowances and thresholds annually from 2013/14 in line with the CPI inflation measure rather than the higher RPI rate as at present.

With its ongoing structural weaknesses, the British economy is particularly at risk from new upheavals in the world economy following the Middle East uprisings and Japanese earthquake, so a sudden and rapid worsening could occur.

In any case, unemployment is forecast to remain high; the budget's allocation of 140,000 "apprenticeships" and "work experience" placements will not make up for the one million jobs that are expected to go in the coming year.

Also these new 'jobs' are likely to be low paid (or unpaid) and short term. Trade union leaders who have been waiting to see if the government will reject some of the Hutton Review's proposals on pensions have now largely received their answer - Osborne declared that the pension 'reforms' will go ahead.

He also opened the door to a future state retirement age of over 66 and beyond, with the limit linked to average life expectancy. So there is certainly no reason to delay in building a mass movement of opposition to the pension attacks and to all the government's brutal austerity measures, and every reason to build it rapidly.

Saturday's national TUC demonstration is very important but is just a start.

The budget will only have added to the determination of working people to fight back. The trade union leaders must make further plans to mobilise their members massively - including through coordinated strike action and a one-day public sector strike - to force the millionaire government ministers to back away from the attacks already made and the many they intend will come.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11536




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle20 Jul Tory crisis deepens - demand a general election now!

triangle18 Jul 'Vote Leave' fined: For a workers' Brexit

triangle17 Jul Victory for Swansea postal workers against management victimisation

triangle16 Jul 250,000-strong human tide sweeps London against visit of bigoted...

triangle16 Jul Confronting the FLA pro-Trump demo - build a workers movement to...

triangle13 Jul School students protest and walk out against Trump

triangle11 Jul NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle24 Jul Liverpool Socialist Party: The Prague Spring 1968, 50 years on

triangle24 Jul London Young Socialists: Fight Trumpism, Fight Racism

triangle24 Jul Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Is globalisation working?

triangle24 Jul Cardiff West Socialist Party: A day in the life of a retail worker

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999