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3 December 2014

Osborne's budget:

The bitter pill of cuts

Step up the fightback now!

Nick Chaffey

With angry voters to face, Tory hopes that Chancellor George Osborne could deliver significant budget tax cuts as pre-election sweeteners are off the menu. With the government deficit and debt growing, and tax receipts falling, the chancellor is less Master Chef and more Master Chump!

Fear of a revolt on the National Health Service (NHS) crisis and public support for striking healthworkers has forced the Tories to find some NHS money. But this is recycled cash, too little and too late.

Prime Minister Cameron's attempts to rebrand the Nasty Party won't wash as millions have suffered from their austerity cuts since 2010. So who will believe this is genuine care for the NHS? Especially as the latest 1 billion privatisation deal for the contract to manage medical records has the sticky fingers of Tory MP Stephen Dorrell all over it - in his part-time role working for contract bidders KPMG.

The Tories can't find a grain of sugar to sweeten the bitter pill of more cuts. Yet neither can Labour, who meet every Tory cuts pledge with the meek cry of "me too!" What a woeful betrayal of many people's hopes that the general election next May could bring an end to cuts. No wonder criticism grows towards "Milibland" even among his own MPs!

The critical state of the NHS and continued threat to council services will mean growing pressure on all Westminster parties. Talk of a recovery that fails to touch the 99% has added to the mood of "enough is enough!"

The pre-election months could be a turbulent time, with firefighters continuing their determined strikes in defence of jobs, pensions and fire stations, and healthworkers possibly taking more action to break the government's imposed pay freeze. If the healthworkers' unions called and led a national NHS demo, this could draw all the latent anger over austerity to the surface.

Labour's "me too" message to reassure fat cat City bankers will do little to inspire hope among the majority of people. Labour councils sending thousands more workers to the job centre by voting through Con-Dem cuts could face growing opposition from council unions and the community.

Slavish devotion to 'responsible' cuts budgets will drive more trade unionists towards the conclusion that a clean break with Labour is necessary and, instead, to join the growing ranks of anti-cuts election candidates standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition. Turn your anger into action and join us!