Last week the Chancellor gave his autumn statement to the House of Commons. At first this all appeared as though George Osborne was pulling rabbits out if his red box, just like magician does from his hat. However like all magicians this was simply a smoke and mirrors trick designed to distract the public from the ideological cuts he has planned.
The Chancellor is on a crusade to produce a budget surplus by 2020. He announced cuts that will hit the most vulnerable and least able to cope in our society. He has done away with the sensible approach championed by Liberal Democrats in the coalition government where those most able shouldered the greatest burden of balancing the books.
The Tax Credit cuts that were scrapped in the statement will, in reality, be phased out by the introduction of the Universal Credit. Police service cuts have been cancelled but our prisons, schools, local governments, and social care all face risings costs and massive budget cuts that threaten the sustainability of front line services.
The Chancellor also used his magical talents to hide that Student Fees are set to rise again, with an expected £6000 to be added to the cost of most courses by the conversion of maintenance grants to loans.
We, of course, don’t believe the Chancellor has magical talents. In fact he has simply taken a revised tax forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility and used this to try to convince us his ‘plan’ is working, and that the economy is recovering. Unfortunately the opposite is true with the chancellor lacking a credible long-term plan to invest in Britain, to create a clean, green economy that is sustainable and strong enough to support our public services with the investment they need.