OSBORNE began his spending review speech yesterday by saying that: ‘Today’s the day when Britain steps back from the brink’.
In fact, his speech represented the day when class war was officially declared in the UK, with 500,000 public sector workers to lose their jobs, along with hundreds of thousands of others, as the Tory-led coalition seeks to hack the Welfare State into pieces.
Even right wing Labourite Alan Johnson had to comment that this is the day that many of the Tories ‘had come into politics for’ – to begin the big push to drive the working class back a hundred years or so.
The Chancellor declared about the crisis of British capitalism: ‘We have, at £109 billion, the largest structural budget deficit in Europe. . . We are paying, at a rate of £120 million a day, £43 billion a year in debt interest.’
Osborne continued that the structural deficit is to be ‘eliminated’ by 2014-15.
However he had to observe that spending will be rising not falling in these years, reaching £651 billion next year, then £665 billion the year after, £679 billion the year after that, before reaching £693 billion in 2014-15.
This is because even with the ‘measures that we are taking debt interest payments continue to grow in these years and will reach £63 billion in 2014-15.’
The position of the capitalist class is impossible unless it skins the working class alive.
Osborne declared: ‘So the Spending Review is underpinned by a far-reaching programme of public service reform’, the celebrated bonfire of the benefits, the privatisation of state assets, and mass sackings.
This means ‘Quangos will be abolished. Services will be integrated. Assets will be sold. . . And the administrative budgets of every main government department cut by a third.’ This policy will see a ‘reduction in headcount of 490,000 over the Spending Review Period.’
Experiencing a rush of privatisation to the head Osborne declared: ‘We will give GPs power to buy local services, schools the freedom to reward good teachers, and communities the right to elect their police and crime commissioners.
‘Second, we should understand that all the services paid for by government do not have to be delivered by government.’
Local government funding will be cut by over 28 per cent over four years, including reducing core grants to local authorities from 90 to less than 10.
New council tenants will have to pay 80% of the market rent. The state pension age for men and women will reach 66 by the year 2020. Raising the State Pension Age will ‘by the end of the next Parliament save over £5 billion a year’.
As well, the age threshold for the shared room rate in housing benefit will be raised from 25 to 35, and there will also be new caps on benefits, as well as the introduction of the ‘universal credit’ to replace benefits.
The BBC will take from the government the responsibility for funding the BBC World Service and BBC Monitor, as well as part-funding S4C. This amounts to some £340 million of savings a year for the Exchequer by 2014-15. The license fee will be frozen for the next six years. This will mean mass sackings at the BBC.
Direct bus subsidies will be reduced – meaning wage cuts and sackings for bus workers.
The cap on regulated rail fares will rise to RPI +3% for the three years from 2012.
While the Labour Party in parliament stated that it will support some of the proposed measures the working class will oppose them all.
There can be no compromise with them. The only way forward is through a general strike to bring the coalition down, and carry through a socialist revolution to bring in a workers government.