CHANCELLOR Osborne made it clear in his Budget statement yesterday that he is not the master of the situation, and is completely dominated by the worldwide capitalist crisis.
He told the House of Commons: ‘I must tell the House that we face such a challenge now. Financial markets are turbulent. Productivity growth across the West is too low. And the outlook for the global economy is weak. It makes for a dangerous cocktail of risks.’
Referring to Gordon Brown and the 2008 crisis, he said: ‘Britain has learnt to its cost what happens when you base your economic policy on the assumption you have abolished boom and bust. Britain is not immune to slowdowns and shocks.’
His solution is cuts, more cuts and yet more cuts, and major attacks on the basic gains of the working class, particularly on the disabled and the trade unions to try and secure capitalism.
He told the House of Commons that the Office for Budget Responsibilty (OBR) ‘have revised down growth in the world economy and in world trade. As a result, the most significant change the OBR have made since their November forecast is their decision to revise down potential UK productivity growth …
‘The OBR acknowledge today that this revision is, in their words, a “highly uncertain” judgement call.’ However, illustrating that the blind are still leading the blind, he added: ‘But I back them 100% … Last year, GDP grew by 2.2%. The OBR now forecast it will grow by 2% this year, then 2.2% again in 2017, and then 2.1% in each of the three years after that.’
Winding up ‘project fear’ he added: ‘Mr Deputy Speaker, the OBR are explicit today that their forecasts are predicated on Britain remaining in the European Union …
‘But they do say this, and I quote them directly: “a vote to leave in the forthcoming referendum could usher in an extended period of uncertainty regarding the precise terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU”.’
He then outlined plans for more cuts. ‘My spending plans in the last Parliament reduced the share of national income taken by the state from the unsustainable 45% we inherited, to 40% today.
‘My spending plans in this Parliament will see it fall to 36.9% by the end of this decade … So I am asking my Right Honourable Friends the Chief Secretary and the Paymaster General to undertake a further drive for efficiency and value for money.
‘The aim is to save a further £3.5 billion in the year 2019-20.’ He added: ‘We’re also going to keep public sector pensions sustainable. We reformed them in the last Parliament which will save over £400 billion in the long term.’
However, to keep the bosses sweet, Corporation Tax will be cut by April 2020 to 17%! Business rates relief will be raised from £6,000 to a maximum threshold of £15,000 with the threshold for the higher rate raised from £18,000 to £51,000.
For the masses, the opposite is the case. He pledged that ‘When I became Chancellor, 80% of local government funding came in largely ring-fenced grants from central government. It was the illusion of local democracy. By the end of this Parliament, 100% of local government resources will come from local government – raised locally, spent locally, invested locally.’
This is his recipe for shutting down most of what is left of the public sector. Civilisation will be reduced to the well-off Tory shires! It is to be total misery for the working class. Then came his predicted blockbuster. ‘I am today providing extra funding so that by 2020 every primary and secondary school in England will be, or be in the process of becoming, an academy.’ He said that the OBR estimated that a sugar levy will raise £520 million. This will be used as follows: ‘For secondary schools we’re going to fund longer school days for those that want to offer their pupils a wider range of activities, including extra sport.’ This of course means all-out war on the teaching trade unions, and compelling parents and pupils to accept academies, longer working days, perhaps seven-day working, and education privatisation!
Osborne’s Budget speech made it perfectly clear that British capitalism is finished. The teachers are to be dealt with in the same way as the junior doctors. He must be answered with a general strike to bring down his government to go forward to a workers government and socialism.