OSBORNE said of his emergency Budget yesterday; ‘Yes it is tough; but it is also fair.’ Further on in his speech he allowed just part of the truth to show its face saying ‘I know there are many dedicated public sector workers who work very hard and did not cause this recession – but they must share the burden as we pay to clean it up.’
This means they must have their pay frozen for two years, while inflation gallops upwards and while Labour renegade, the ‘unbiased’ Hutton, works out just how to scrap their pensions.
The Chancellor also announced his attempt to split the public sector workers, saying that the 28 per cent of the public sector who earn below £21,000 a year will be allowed a £250 rise in each year of the two year public sector wage freeze he is introducing.
In fact, the VAT rise to 20 per cent will more than wipe out this fixed increase, while it will pauperise the remaining 72 per cent of the public sector.
As well, with government departments facing 25 per cent cuts over this parliament, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers will be sacked, and have no wages at all – unless they work for subsistence only wages.
Osborne announced that ‘The formal mandate we set is that the structural current deficit should be in balance in the final year of the five-year forecast period, which is 2015-16 in this Budget.’
He added: ‘The unemployment rate is forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility to peak this year at 8.1 per cent and then fall for each of the next four years, to reach 6.1 per cent in 2015. . .’ In five years’ time, if all goes well in the Tories’ best-case scenario, there will still be over two million unemployed!
The Budget deficit target is to be £149 billion this year, falling to £116 billion next year, then falling to £20bn by 2015-16!
Osborne spelt out that this is to be obtained by 77 per cent spending reductions and 23 per cent tax increases such as the VAT rise, plus a privatisation drive that will see the Tote, Air Traffic Control, and the Student Loan Book privatised, and ‘a private capital injection into the Royal Mail Group’.
For the rest it is to be a sheer bludgeoning of the poor, the weak and children, as if they were vermin.
The government pledged to ‘accelerate the increase in the State Pension Age to 66’, while cutting pension credit by £6bn ‘by the end of the parliament’.
Further, tax credits will be slashed for over 150,000 families, ‘And we will not introduce the pre-election promise of a new tax credit element for infants.’
All in all children are to get it in the neck. ‘So we will abolish the poorly-targeted Health in Pregnancy Grant from April 2011. At the same time we will restrict the Sure Start maternity grant to the first child only. And we will expect lone parents to look for work when their youngest child goes to school.
‘We have decided that we simply cannot afford to extend the Saving Gateway and we have also had to take a difficult decision about Child Benefit. . . we have decided to freeze Child Benefit for the next three years.’
Osborne continued: ‘That brings me to another universal benefit, Disability Living Allowance. . . We will introduce a medical assessment for Disability Living Allowance from 2013, which will be applied to new and existing claimants.’
Housing Benefit is also a Tory target, ‘Costs are completely out of control. We now spend more on housing benefit than we do on the police and on universities combined. . .’ This is to be resolved by a ‘Re-setting and restricting of Local Housing Allowances’, by ‘Up-rating deductions; Reducing certain awards; and Re-adjusting Support for Mortgage Interest payments;’ while ‘Limiting social tenants’ entitlement to appropriately sized homes.’
Delivering one final kick at the working class, Osborne told councils: ‘If you can keep your cost increases low, then we will help you to freeze council tax for one year from next April.’ He is telling them to axe their workforces.
In this Budget the Tories show no mercy to the working class, the poor, the disabled and the children.
They must be treated in the same ruthless way. The shameless TUC must be made to cancel their invitation to Tory leader Cameron to address the TUC conference and instead the general council must be made to call a general strike to bring Cameron and the Liberals down.