CHANCELLOR Osborne began his Autumn Statement yesterday ‘We will do whatever it takes to protect Britain from this debt storm . . .’
After stating that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had ‘revised down their short-term growth prospects for our country, for Europe and for the world,’ he added: ‘The OBR are clear that this central forecast assumes – in their words – “the euro area finds a way through the current crisis and that policymakers eventually find a solution that delivers sovereign debt sustainability”.’
If, as expected, it does not the OBR warns that there could be a ‘much worse outcome’ for Britain.
Osborne added: ‘I believe they are right. We hope this can be averted . . . We are now undertaking extensive contingency planning to deal with all potential outcomes of the euro crisis.’
The Chancellor confirmed that because of the ‘debt storm’ borrowing is now expected to hit £79 billion in 2014-15 – more than double the £37bn which he had previously forecast. It is also more than the £74bn predicted by the former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling!
Unemployment is predicted to increase from 8.1 per cent to 8.7 per cent next year.
He also announced his remedies: ‘For some workforces, the two-year pay freeze will be coming to an end next spring, for most during 2013. In the current circumstance the country cannot afford the two per cent rise assumed by some government departments thereafter. So instead, we will set public sector pay awards at an average of 1 per cent for each of the two years after the pay freeze ends.’ It is to be wage cuts for ever. He also announced an offensive on national pay agreements stating: ‘We are asking the independent Pay Review Bodies to consider how public sector pay can be made more responsive to local labour markets.’
He also announced another huge attack on pensions and pensioners. He stated that ‘starting in the year 2026, we will increase the State Pension Age from 66 to 67 – so we can go on paying a decent pension to people who are living longer’. This is ten years earlier than previously announced, but it will save ‘a staggering’ £59 billion.
Meanwhile, ‘the government is launching a major programme of credit easing to help small business . . . We have set a ceiling of £40 billion . . . So we are launching our National Loan Guarantee Scheme.’
The banks won’t lend but the government will, risking massive losses as the banks in the EU crash after the £40bn raised through massive attacks on the workers, the youth and the pensioners is lost.
However, there is no question of taxing the banks. Said Osborne: ‘We will not agree to the introduction of an EU Financial Transaction Tax.’ Plus ‘We shouldn’t price British business out of the world economy’ – so planning and employment rules are to be reformed.
‘We’re already doubling the period before an employee can bring an unfair dismissal claim and introducing fees for tribunals. Now we will call for evidence on further reforms to make it easier to hire people, including: Changing the TUPE regulations; Reducing delay and uncertainty in the collective redundancy process; and introducing the idea of compensated no fault dismissal for businesses with fewer than ten employees.
‘We will cut the burden of health and safety rules on small firms . . . It’s no good endlessly comparing ourselves with other European countries. The entire continent is pricing itself out of the world economy’. It is to be slave labour Britain.
It is a different story for the bosses: ‘Our corporate tax rate has already fallen from 28 per cent to 26 per cent, and I can confirm that it will fall again next April to 25 per cent . . . So from April 2012, anyone investing up to £100,000 in a qualifying new start up business will be eligible for income tax relief of 50 per cent – regardless of the rate at which they pay tax . . . And to help all businesses, including larger ones, with next year’s rise in business rates, I will allow them to defer 60 per cent of the increase in their bills to the two following years.’
As well, Osborne announced ‘Our new Youth Contract’ for forced labour for youth or loss of benefit.
For the Tories, going forward to resolve the capitalist crisis means returning society to the 19th century. The working class is being left with no alternative but to carry out a socialist revolution!