RESPONSES TO THE BUDGET
For the first time in modern history, British economic growth is predicted to fall below 2 per cent in every forecast year. Thus the UK is facing the longest fall in living standards since records began.
- Deficit not due to be eliminated until 2031 (16 years after initial Coalition promise).
- Growth below 2% in every forecast year for first time in modern history. (We can argue - and do – that GDP is not the point, but it's the index the Tories and the media use)
- Annual pay not due to return to 2008 peak until 2025 (if then – Brexit will have hit long before then). See diagram in the notes
- NHS requested £4bn, was given £2.8bn, most of it post-dated until 2018/19. £350 million for this winter. Which is both insulting and pitiful.
- BUT £10bn for 'NHS sustainability and transformation plan' – this is the application of the Naylor Report to sell off all NHS hard assets – creeping privatisation.
- Stamp duty abolished for first time buyers – OBR says this might help 3,500 people, but will mostly help sellers, not buyers, because house prices will rise.
- No rise in duty on fuel means no strategy at all to mitigate climate breakdown or air pollution.
- £3bn for Brexit preparations is a tiny fraction of what is needed – but still more than the NHS gets: so the Tories' pointless psychodrama is more important to them than the health of the nation.
"Our austerity programme will help eradicate the deficit by 2015." G. Osborne, 2010
"Austerity is key to eliminating the deficit by 2020." G. Osborne, 2015
"We need more austerity to help us erase the deficit by 2025." P. Hammond, 2017
The Chief executive of the NHS asked for £4bn as an emergency to keep the NHS alive. He was given £2.8 billion, most of which will be given in the next two years. For this winter, he was given £350million – for the year, not per week, as was promised on the side of the Brexit bus. The figure can't be accidental, but it's insulting to everyone who uses the NHS.
Breakdown: £350m this year, which will be available immediately to allow trusts to plan for winter , £1.6bn for 2018/19, and the remaining £850m in 2019/20.
There's a promised pay rise for nurses, paramedics and midwives, but only if their talks with Jeremy Hunt 'bear fruit' – I assume this is a classic 'divide and rule' strategy to split the health workers into smaller groups and buy them off while undermining the integrity of the service as a whole. Certainly there was no equivalent rise for doctors, despite a net loss of 1,000 GPs last year.
We need to start shouting about this now. The Naylor report will render the NHS impossible to renationalize because no Trust will actually own the property in and on which its hospitals reside. THE CHANCELLOR GAVE £10BN TO THIS, THREE TIMES WHAT THE NHS WAS GIVEN TO ACTUALLY FUNCTION – why is nobody screaming about it?
Stamp Duty abolished for first time buyers
The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) believes that the stamp duty cut will simply cause house prices to rise in direct proportion to the cut. “Thus the main gainers from the policy are people who already own property” – expects it to push house prices UP by 0.3% - house sellers will be happy. The OBR suggests that the number enabled to buy a home will be a paltry 3,500.
OBR Chair Robert Chote explained that the abolition would in fact increase house prices by more than the stamp duty saving, so those selling a home would gain but not those buying. (But expect a glut of the super rich buying homes in the names of their children)
NOTE: IF CURRENT TRENDS CONTINUE, BY 2025 RENTERS WILL OVERTAKE HOME OWNERS IN NUMBERS
Check your wage packet - under the Tories & Philip Hammond, in real terms, those wages will decrease for the next 5 years. Prices will go up, so, after 7yrs of belt tightening austerity - wage reduction will enforce more years of pain.
Below is a diagram for those who find images easier to digest.
The key point is that real terms annual pay has slumped during the Tory reign. Given the revision of the forecasts, it is likely real wages will continue to stagnate. Since 2007, Britain has suffered a -10.4% change in real wages. The UK & Greece come bottom for wage growth. Britain's lost decade.
Hammond announced a levy on diesel vehicles that will, supposedly, fund a £220 million fund for local authorities' clean air measures - which might sound like a lot of money to some, but isn't. The UK has over four hundred local authorities, according to local government think-tank. - which means that each authority will only receive an average of just over £500,000.
Local authorities have seen massive cuts in their budgets since 2010, so the additional funding is minuscule in context. The freeze on the fuel duty escalator will do nothing to mitigate the impending climate chaos. This government obsessed with its own trivia that has no vision of a future in which our planet is inhabitable by our children's children.
Tories have built 1.1 new houses in 7.5 years – the lowest rate of house building since the war. And the overwhelming majority have been out of the reach of ordinary people. Only the Tories think that 80% of market value is 'affordable'.
Compiled by our CLP colleague, Manda Scott, Ludlow CLP. Thanks Manda!