CHANCELLOR Osborne’s just-declared Budget has touched off such anger that he is already being counselled to abandon his masterplan to make savage cuts on the disabled so that he can make big handouts to the already well-off and rich.
Heading the revolt is a disabled campaigner and Conservative party member Graeme Ellis who has resigned his position in the Conservative Disabilities Group after disabling its website.
He says that he took these steps because he feels that Osborne ‘is robbing the vulnerable to pay the rich’, simultaneously cutting disability benefits in order to raise the 40p income tax threshold.
Ellis, who has diabetes, neuropathy and a visual impairment, has been transformed: ‘I no longer want to be a Conservative. I’m disabled first and that’s the corner I’ll continue fighting.’ Well said and well done!
His position has been confirmed by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who said: ‘Up to 600,000 disabled people could lose over £100 a week, totalling up to £6bn a year!’ He added: ‘I think that’s unacceptable and the reason it’s unacceptable is because that’s paying for a cut to Capital Gains Tax for the richest 5% in our country.’
Parkinson’s UK policy adviser Phil Reynolds has said that the cuts on the disabled will be ‘devastating’. He said: ‘Thousands of people with Parkinson’s, who rely on aids and appliances for basic tasks like using the toilet or dressing themselves, will now find PIP even tougher to claim. Instead of being able to receive the support they so desperately need, they’re being penalised and shut out at every turn.’
In fact, the Chancellor has launched a massive body of savage cuts. He told MPs in his budget speech, ‘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 … The aim is to save a further £3.5 billion in the year 2019-20.’
At the same time as savagely cutting expenditure, Osborne announced that, ‘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.’
He then 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.’
In other words it is to be savage cuts all round, as a way of life, or the way to an early death!
He also announced: ‘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.’
This has also been condemned by Labour and the teaching trade unions. The Labour Party said yesterday: ‘In fact, the schools system is facing a black hole of £560 million, as Osborne fails to fully fund his pledge to turn every school into an academy.
There are currently 15,632 schools in England which are not yet academies. The cost for conversion to academy status is £44,837.
‘The Budget allocated £140 million to academisation. This leaves a shortfall of £560 million. The government has conveniently left out the policy costings for full academisation in its Budget document.’
Again, this programme will be paid for by more massive raids on the poor and the disabled, and through huge attacks on the jobs, wages and working conditions of teachers.
Compulsory academisation means longer school days and flexibility for school activities in evenings and over weekends. It will see the same war being waged on teachers that the Tory regime is waging on the junior doctors, whom Hunt intends to force to work for seven days for five days’ pay. You have been warned!
The solution to this problem is simple. On April 6 the junior doctors are coming out for another 48 hours. The teaching unions and all TUC trade unions must strike with them to bring the Tories down and bring in a workers’ government!