|The News Line: Editorial
Thursday, 9 March 2017
British capitalism is on its knees – put an end to it with a socialist revolution!
WITH British capitalism on its knees and the Tory Party and the ruling class split from stem to stern over the European Union, Tory Chancellor Hammond yesterday began his budget speech in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mode stating, ‘I report today on an economy that has continued to confound the commentators with robust growth … that provides a strong and stable platform’ for negotiations with the EU.
The real situation intruded when he declared: ‘Employment is up, but productivity remains stubbornly low.’ In fact, ‘In 2018 growth is forecast to slow to 1.6%, before picking up to 1.7%, then 1.9%, and back to 2% in 2021.’
At the same time the OBR, ‘now forecasts borrowing in 2016-17, to be £16.4 billion lower than forecast in the autumn, at £51.7 billion. Then £58.3 billion in 2017-18; £40.8 billion in 2018-19; then £21.4 billion; £20.6 billion; and finally £16.8 billion in 2021-22.’
He added about the astronomic debt that, ‘The OBR now forecast that debt will rise to 86.6% this year, before peaking at 88.8% next year; 1.4 percentage points lower than forecast in the autumn. It then falls in 2018-19, for the first time since 2001-02 to 88.5%, it then continues to decline to 86.9% in 2019-20, 83%, in 2020-21 and then reaches 79.8% in 2021-22.’
He warned: ‘Some have argued that lower borrowing this year makes a case for more unfunded spending in the future. Britain has a debt of nearly £1.7 trillion, almost £62,000 for every household in the country. Each year, we are spending £50 billion on debt interest – more than we spend on Defence and Policing combined. And borrowing over the forecast period is still set to be £100 billion higher than predicted at Budget 2016. So the only responsible course of action, Mr Deputy Speaker, is to continue with our plan, undeterred by any short-term fluctuations.’
So it is to be austerity, more austerity and yet more austerity, with the working class paying for the crisis. For big business, Hammond declared: ‘In 2010, Corporation Tax was 28%. From April this year, it will fall to 19%, the lowest rate in the G20. In 2020, it will fall again to 17%, sending the clearest possible signal that Britain is open for business.’ He added: ‘But to make the UK even more attractive for Research and Development we have accepted industry calls for a reduction in administrative burdens around the scheme and will shortly bring forward measures to deliver them.’
Also, ‘the government is committed to a package of cuts to business rates now worth nearly £9 billion, permanently doubling the rate of Small Business Rate Relief to 100%, and raising the thresholds so that 600,000 small businesses are taken out of paying rates altogether.’
Hammond then announced that what was necessary was more productivity per worker. ‘This House knows that the only sustainable way to raise living standards is to improve our productivity growth. Simply put, higher productivity means higher pay. We are 35% behind Germany and 18% behind the G7 average. And the gap is not closing.’ The rate of exploitation of the working class is to be driven up!
There are also to be a further 110 new free schools, on top of the current commitment to 500. He made it clear that ‘we are ensuring that local authorities and the NHS work more closely together.’ Bed blocking is to be ended, ‘To enable elderly patients to be discharged when they are ready, freeing up precious NHS beds, and ensuring that elderly people are receiving the care they need.
‘Today I am committing additional grant funding of £2 billion to social care in England over the next 3 years, with £1 billion available in 17-18. This will allow local authorities to act now to commission new care packages. These measures, and greater collaborative working under NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans, will bring short and medium-term benefits.’
He added: ‘We recognise the progress the NHS is making in developing Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
‘And we recognise, too, that in addition to the funding already committed, some of those plans will require further capital investment. So the Treasury will work closely with the Department of Health over the course of the summer as the STPs are progressed and prioritised.
‘And at Autumn Budget I will announce a multi-year capital programme to support implementation of approved high quality STPs. In the meantime, the Health Secretary expects that a small number of the strongest STPs may be ready ahead of Autumn Budget.’
He emphasised: ‘And so today I am allocating an additional £325 million of capital to allow the first selected plans to proceed.’ So it is to be full speed ahead. To aid sinking British capitalism the NHS is to be broken up and privatised. British capitalism is finished. Its death agony summons the working class forward to put an end to it with a socialist revolution as the only way that society can move forward and continue to develop.
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