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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 March 2011

Little to laugh about in 'Carry On Cuts' budget

Sean Figg

Like so many sequels, George Osborne's second full budget as Chancellor will be a disappointing re-run of the first. Working class people will find little to cheer them.

Osborne's ludicrous headline promise that he "is not going to be asking for more tax rises or spending cuts" will be laughable to most. After having already announced cuts of 81 billion and put up taxes, for example the regressive VAT by 2.5%, are we supposed to thank him for not walloping us yet again?

No one will be fooled by the usual sops he will throw at us. Promises of extra money for apprenticeships and vocational training would be welcomed by the Socialist if they were genuine, ie paid a living wage and guaranteed a job at the end. But this is virtually ruled out. In every budget since the economic crisis hit, whether Labour or coalition, promises to help young people into work have been made, yet youth unemployment remains stubbornly around the one million mark.

Why should we expect that Osborne is doing anything other than going through the motions yet again on this issue? And are these announcements meant to compensate for the bonfire of jobs in the public sector?

The Con-Dems' bizarre policy of "creative destruction" - the idea that the private sector will step in as the public sector is slashed - is a fiction, as the contraction of the economy in the last quarter of last year starkly demonstrates.

Osborne promises that this budget will be the "most pro-enterprise and business-friendly in a generation". Hardly news from a millionaire, Oxbridge Tory! But his promised cutting of "red tape" will almost certainly be to the benefit of businesses at the expense of their employees.

According to research by the House of Commons library, up to 3.8 million people, including 1.8 million women, will not be covered by maternity pay regulations or the right to request flexible working and shared parental leave.

Despite the rhetoric, a new Ipsos Mori poll shows that 71% think the poor will fare worst under the Con-Dems' deficit reduction - ie cuts - programme. Working people and young people are not buying the lie that 'we are all in it together'.

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In The Socialist 23 March 2011:


PDF of issue

PDF of The Socialist issue 663, 24-30 March 2011


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