TORY Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement has been derided for its claims to represent a way out of the economic crisis strangling British capitalism, and driving forward a mass movement of workers against being forced into poverty to ‘save’ the profits of the bosses and bankers.
His boast that cutting National Insurance contributions would compensate workers for over a decade of pay cuts was immediately exposed as a lie by the Resolution Foundation think tank analysis, that revealed that families will be paying £4,300 more in tax despite cuts to National Insurance and other budget ‘giveaways’.
This increase over the next five years is an inevitable consequence of fiscal drag – the term used to describe people being pushed by inflation into higher tax brackets as wages increase.
This analysis was confirmed by the official Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) which estimates that seven million more workers will be pushed into paying more in income tax by 2028.
The Resolution Foundation chief executive Torsten Bell said that Hunt’ ‘tax cutting rhetoric clashed with tax rising reality.’
The only ones to benefit are the giant corporations who will be able to claim back tax on their profits simply by calling them ‘investments’. Paying for the billions of pounds of tax handouts will be the working class through increased taxation and Hunt’s ‘squeeze’ on public spending.
Paul Johnson the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) made this clear saying: ‘These tax cuts have been paid for’ by an even bigger squeeze on the real terms value of public service budget and an even bigger squeeze on public investment, which is frozen in cash terms.
No increase in public spending in line with inflation means the NHS, schools and every public service being either slashed to the bone, or closed down completely as more and more local authorities follow councils like Birmingham into bankruptcy.
Hunt intends spending on public services to fall by £20 billion while the extra £30 billion the Treasury made from fiscal drag is handed to the bosses through cuts to corporation tax.
Not content with driving up taxes for workers the energy regulator yesterday announced that the energy price cap would increase by 5% in January, adding an extra £94 to a typical gas and electricity bill making more and more families forced to choose between heating and eating this winter.
The callous attitude of the Tories and the ruling class towards the most vulnerable sections of the working class was displayed in Hunt’s vicious attack on the sick, disabled, the mentally ill and the unemployed.
While the rich and big business got billion-pound handouts Hunt pledged a sanctions regime, complete with a ‘Work Capability Assessment’ scheme to drive ‘nearly 700,000 people with health conditions’ back to work.
Benefits claimants will face mandatory work placements and if they don’t find jobs all their benefits will be stopped including their right to free medical prescriptions – Hunt is prepared to deny benefit claimants the access to medicine in order to drive them into work for the benefit of the bosses.
The disabled will be told they have to work from home if they can’t travel to and from jobs.
Following the Tory Autumn Statement all the general secretary of the TUC, Paul Nowak, could say was: ‘This is not a plan for rebuilding Britain. It’s a plan for levelling the country down.’
It is not a plan for levelling down, it’s a plan for making the working class pay for the crisis of a bankrupt capitalist class by driving them back to the poverty conditions of the 19th century.
However, the working class is not willing to accept poverty and seeing all the gains of the welfare state destroyed to keep the bosses in profit and is demanding a real fight against a system that can only offer this as a future.
Central to the TUC special Congress on Saturday 9th December, called to discuss action against the Tory anti-strike laws, must be a resolution that is put down and voted on that the TUC stops just commentating on Tory attacks and calls an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and a socialist planned economy.
This is the only way to defend the interests of the working class and the majority of the middle class.
Let’s bring the phoney war to an end by forcing the TUC to call an indefinite general strike, that will bring in a workers government that will nationalise the banks and the major industries under workers control to bring in a planned socialist economy!