Osborne announced £81 billion reduction in public expenditure
As George Osborne ploughed through the list of ‘efficiency savings’, it seemed as though he struggled to iterate what he was orchestrating. Almost with a guilty conscience, he reached for his glass of water after every departmental shrinkage plan. The monetary arm of the state is no longer the source of promise that has rescued those trapped on the peripheries of society, it has now turned away. With this it has put the futures of a generation at risk:
- It has forced those who work so diligently to offset their well-earned retirement plans, by increasing the retirement age. This is compounded by a further £3.5 billion worth of contributions that have to be made by public sector workers for their pension schemes.
- The departmental cuts total £46 billion, including 27% from local government, 29% from the environment and 23% from the Home Office.
- It has taken a further £50 a week from those who genuinely claim incapacity benefit, and has stripped another £7 billion from the Welfare budget (the equivalent of £1000 a year from 7 million families) on top of the £11 billion cuts announced previously. Those depending on tax credits and housing benefits will now get a significant amount less or nothing at all.
- 40% cut in Higher Education- stifling the chances of many innovative and bright young people to excel in the world of academia. My thoughts on this are in a previous blog written recently.
- The Ministry of Defence will face an 8% reduction in funding which equates to the loss of 42,000 army personnel or civil servant jobs over the next five years.
- He announced that the commitment to the renovation and new building of social housing will be cut by 60% over the next four years.
The list is endless. To take £81 billion out of the budget through depreciating government spending in the vital services and help that our society necessitates over the next four years is without question showing a complete disregard for the poorest and most vulnerable in society. It is widening the gulf between the top of the social ladder and the bottom, and it recklessly diminishes the future prospects of those not even born yet. And as the Tory backbenchers praised and cheered their man’s vast Spending Review it got me thinking- this ties in with traditional and recurring Tory principles- to hold the poorest at arm’s length, and let the rich get richer.
The sharp prospect of the governmental chopping blade is a frightful thing, but its something we will all endure. Whether the coalition are right to cut so deep, so quickly, is a matter that can be debated for ages, but the unsavoury realisation is that it is going to happen and we are powerless to stop it. However I believe the one department that should be protected more so than others, is education.
We all realise that in order to maintain our proud position on the international stage as a hub of potential, promise and initiative, we need to sort our finances out. Yet within this lies the problem of why reducing the reach of the state’s monetary arm especially in education is counterproductive. Education is the bedrock of social mobility, the generation of new ideas, and the advancement of understanding. So reducing the finance it receives, reduces its importance in the eyes of young people, and starves them of realising not only their full potential, but that of our nation.
In today’s news a leaked source suggested that there could be funding cuts of up to £4.2 billion for universities in the next Spending Review. A few days ago Lord Browne’s report suggested that education will now become a prospect for the wealthier classes. And the threat of many universities caving in is one which has gathered speed. Politicians scrap over the definition of fairness, this isn’t fair- this is placing education on a pedestal and kicking the less well off further into the wilderness.
Alistair Darling outside No. 11 Downing Street.
I’d like to thank Max for his hard work, and look forward to his future posts in ‘Ramsay’s F Word’.
Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has delivered the 2010 budget which could significantly affect the result of 6th May and indeed the future of our nation.
Briefly the key points to reduce the deficit, and help the British people:
- The deficit is not as severe as 2009/10 predictions state- £167 billion rather than £178 billion
- Fuel duty to rise by a penny in April followed by a further 1p rise in October.
- Stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers in increased- this will greatly ease the strain for those starting out on the property ladder!
- Stamp duty will be increased by 5% for properties over £1 million from April, a prospect which will most probably anger Conservatives.
- No-one under 24 will need to be unemployed for longer than six months without being offered jobs or training.
- Perhaps the most disappointing move by Mr Darling is the increase of 10% on the price of cider which could equate to an extra 27p for a pint. Not exactly ideal for the average student.
- Annual investment allowance for small businesses doubled to £100,000, which means greater help for struggling businesses who provide a strong foundation to our economy. There is also a £2.5 billion package to stimulate new innovation.
- Duty on beer, wine and spirits will increase as planned from midnight on Sunday. Alcohol duties will also increase by 2% above inflation for two further years from 2013.
- Tobacco duty will rise today by 1% above inflation and then increase by 2% in real terms each year until 2014.
- Business rates will be cut for one year from October which brings a tax reduction for over 500,000 small businesses.
- The government has also suggested that there will be 20,000 new places for decent university subjects.
The blueprint for a successful recovery through sensible and pragmatic initiatives has been proposed by Alistair Darling. It’s now our job to campaign not just for the preservation of the current and effective administration, but also fight for the future of our country. With ‘Airbrushed’ Dave and his sidekick at the helm, we could descend into a nation of bitter discontent.
In an interview with Andrew Neil, Liam Byrne MP (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) set the record straight in announcing that the government needed to half the deficit by £82 billion, and stated that the £19 billion that is currently accrued by taxes, is sufficient enough and that no further increase in tax is necessary. He spelled out that the remainder of the deficit will be cut through economic growth (£25 billion) and cuts in public spending. With a cool head he did not shy away from telling how tough it might be, and made a media-hyped sour pill a somewhat sweeter one to swallow indeed!
Liam Byrne on Thursday’s Daily Politics: