Balls promises more cuts under Labour

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THE shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, made his keynote speech to the annual conference of the Labour Party yesterday setting out the economic policy of any future Labour government – a policy that amounts to nothing more than carrying on with the coalition’s cuts in order to rescue British capitalism.

The crucial passage in the speech came when Balls talked of the economic situation that would face a Labour government, he said: ‘We stand to inherit a very difficult situation. After three wasted years of lost growth, far from balancing the books, in 2015 there is now set to be a deficit of over £90 billion.

‘David Cameron and George Osborne’s failure on the economy has led to their failure to get the deficit down, and it will be up to the next Labour government to finish the job.’

He continued to spell out exactly what this meant: ‘And I need to be straight with this Conference and the country about what that means. The government’s day-to-day spending totals for 2015/16 will have to be our starting point.

‘Any changes to the current spending plans for that year will be fully funded and set out in advance in our manifesto. There will be no more borrowing for day-to-day spending. And we will set out tough fiscal rules – to balance the current budget and get the national debt on a downward path.’

In short, Balls and Miliband are determined to carry on with the Tory attacks on the working class but in a ‘fairer’ way.

He was careful not to say exactly what constitutes a fairness when it comes to cuts but he did make it clear that any future Labour government would keep the vast majority of the cuts made by the coalition and would go even further.

Along with keeping the government’s cuts to child benefit, Balls pledged that he would end the universal winter fuel allowance benefit to pensioners.

On the vital question of the Tories cap on the universal benefit, a cap that has plunged millions of unemployed and low paid workers and their families into absolute poverty, Balls promised: ‘We will keep the benefits cap, but make sure it properly reflects local housing costs.’

This is not the only cap that Balls is eager to keep in order to bring down the national debt, he informed conference that: ‘We will have a cap on structural social security spending.’

So all expenditure on social security and unemployment benefit will be capped under Labour as they follow the Tory plan of making the unemployed suffer for the economic crisis brought on by the banking collapse.

Along with the unemployed and low paid, pensioners’ are in the firing line, Balls said: ‘And yes, over the long-term, as our population ages, there will need to be increases in the retirement age.’

So the economic policy of the Labour Party leadership is nothing more than a pledge to the bankers and bosses that it remains a safe pair of hands prepared to carry on and even extend the attacks on the working class in the name of saving bankrupt capitalism.

Balls’ speech is a declaration of the Labour leadership’s willingness to place themselves at the service of capitalism as a government or as part of a reactionary right-wing coalition.

Workers today face ruination at the hands of this coalition and its policies of destroying livelihoods and smashing up the welfare state in the name of bringing down the national debt and saving the banks.

They cannot wait for a general election and the hope of a return of a Labour government committed to exactly the same policies as Osborne, Cameron and Cable.

The crisis demands immediate action, an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition and advance to a workers government and socialism.