Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/27033

Posted on 14 March 2018 at 16:19 GMT

Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness

photo Steve Leverett/CC

photo Steve Leverett/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ross Saunders, Socialist Party national committee

No wonder people are pulling away, disgusted, from establishment politics. Chancellor Philip Hammond betrayed no sign that the agony wracking austerity Britain even crossed his mind when he drew up the government's Spring Statement.

Usually the chancellor's economic update - previously held in November and called the 'Autumn Statement' - is a kind of mini-budget, making some additions to the main plans announced on Budget Day.

But Hammond managed to spend his whole 20 minutes almost without announcing a single penny of new money for any purpose.

He was full of lame jokes about Winnie the Pooh characters, but empty of the funds our starving public services need to end the permanent crisis they are in.

He had nothing for public sector workers who have endured a decade of pay restraint, nothing for the legions of us struggling on zero-hour contracts, a pitiful response to the ever-growing housing crisis, and no answer to the dire warnings that austerity in our NHS is killing us.

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell was correct to ask parliament: "How many more people have to die waiting in an ambulance before he acts?"

Economy

Much of the big business press has colluded with the Tories to try and talk up the economy and the government's effect on it.

Frankly it was embarrassing to see analysts earnestly attempting to convince us that the small increase in projected GDP growth for this year - from 1.4% to 1.5% - represented what Hammond called "the light at the end of the tunnel." This anaemic recovery is only for the super-rich.

Hammond trumpets that the government is finally spending less than it receives. But while his excuse for continuing austerity is the public debt - due to hit 85% of GDP this year, the highest level since 1965 - its real aim is to erode any sense that the working class is entitled to public services and living wages.

Meanwhile, austerity has also compounded British capitalism's underlying problems. The same tired lies about record employment were rehearsed, with no mention of the epidemic of underemployment, insecure work, enslavement to the gig economy and flight from the sanctions regime in social security that are hidden in the figures.

These processes, coupled with failure to invest record profits, have shipwrecked productivity - the value created per hour of work - which is 16% behind the average across the leading 'G7' economies.

The Office for National Statistics also found in February that since the 2008 crash the trend is for workers to be forced into less productive jobs, in the service sector for example.

All this puts British capitalism in a very precarious situation when the next downturn comes.

The truth is that Britain's economy is still mired in the swamp the capitalist road has plunged it into. There will be no emerging from the filth without socialist policies.

The Tories are fragile and divided and only get away with austerity as usual because of the lack of a lead from the trade union leaders. The UCU strikers show the way: the unions must build for a coordinated fightback.


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 14 March 2018 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Austerity:

triangleLet's sell 1,000 extra copies of issue 1000!

triangleRichest worth 724bn... as 100,000 kids fall into poverty

triangleRoyal wedding opulence... during longest pay squeeze in 200 years

triangleHaringey councillors need to fight austerity now

Economy:

triangleTax Amazon movement wins in Seattle

triangleReject the mega-supermarket merger: nationalise to save jobs

triangle200 years of Karl Marx: Marxist ideas more relevant than ever

triangleBritish capitalism in crisis

Government:

triangleYes to the struggle to lift the siege

triangleAds won't fix it: fight mental health cuts as well as stigma

triangleGovernment continues to back failed private rail model

Tories:

triangleTories prepare for possible snap election

triangle30 years on from Section 28: the legacy of fighting LGBT+ attacks must continue

Public services:

triangleVictory against academisation

Britain:

triangleTories' continuing EU quagmire is Corbyn's opportunity

Budget:

triangleVictory: how school strike beat 'academy' privatisers

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/5/18

General election

Tories prepare for possible snap election

23/5/18

Rail

Government continues to back failed private rail model

23/5/18

Ebola

New Ebola threat: UN and drug companies drag their feet

23/5/18

Ireland

Youthful enthusiasm to break with repression of past

23/5/18

Homelessness

Homeless charity colluding with Home Office to deport homeless!

23/5/18

Housing

Capitalism's Grenfell shame - Tories must go

23/5/18

Refugees

Support refugees rights

21/5/18

Antisemitism

Antisemitism, Israel-Palestine, & the left

17/5/18

PCS

Threat to unity of PCS left

16/5/18

Super-rich

Richest worth 724bn... as 100,000 kids fall into poverty

16/5/18

Monarchy

Royal wedding opulence... during longest pay squeeze in 200 years

16/5/18

Brexit

Tories' continuing EU quagmire is Corbyn's opportunity

15/5/18

Gaza

Stop the Israeli state slaughter!

15/5/18

Middle East

Middle East in crisis

15/5/18

PCS

PCS conference 2018: building on the union's militant record

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

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

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


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