Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/21059

Posted on 8 July 2015 at 19:17 GMT

Photo by Dave Beale

Photo by Dave Beale   (Click to enlarge)

Fightback essential following Osborne's hatchet budget

For the millionaire Tory cabinet ministers sitting in their ivory towers the plight of working class people is off their radar and concern. What do they care if a whole generation of young people is condemned to a desperate struggle for the basic necessities of life?

Since the Tories' unexpected election break in May - scraping back into power with the votes of 24% of the electorate - hatchet chancellor George Osborne has been licking his lips in anticipation of the further destruction he can inflict on the welfare state.

In today's budget he triumphantly announced measures that will worsen the struggle to get by of many working class and middle class people, by slashing tax credits and housing benefit, and maintaining public sector wage increases at just 1%. He did this while repeating his brazen lie that "we are all in this together". Especially worse off after Osborne's budget will be future parents who have more than two children; as a result of his vindictive cuts, many children in larger families will be condemned to greater poverty than those in smaller families.

The justification he resorted to for cutting in-work benefits - to disguise an ideological war on welfare - was that they are effectively subsidising employers. But apart from his introduction of a new "national living wage" of 7-20 an hour from next April, which is in reality far less than a real 'living' wage, he leaves low paid workers (who are having their benefits reduced) at the mercy of the goodwill of their bosses, and we all know the likely result of that.

Youth Fight Austerity placard, People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo Sabah

Youth Fight Austerity placard, People's Assembly demo, 20 June 2015, photo Sabah   (Click to enlarge)

For Osborne, it's not enough that the top companies already amass vast profits while paying poverty wages. He has given the Tories' big business friends an enormous tax handout with corporation tax to be reduced to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020.

Raising the annual income threshold at which tax starts to 11,000 will be generally welcomed, but this isn't a measure that gives more to the lowest paid workers; it puts the same tax-free earnings sum into the pockets of all earners, including the richest. That measure, and the increase in the re-named minimum wage (which will be an additional 50p an hour after the increase of 20p due in October) puts some much-needed extra money into workers' pockets. However, on the other hand, most or all of it will be taken away for many by the slashing of in-work benefits, not to mention the effect of public sector wages being held at low levels.

Housing crisis

The massive and acute lack of affordable housing will grow even greater with the Tory budget's inclusion of a sell-off of Housing Association stock via the forewarned "right to buy" announcement. Much of this housing stock will end up in the hands of buy-to-let landlords charging astronomical 'market' rents.

Local authorities have had an indirect funding cut by being forced to reduce council property rents by 1% a year for four years, along with housing associations, a very small welcome measure for a layer of tenants, but one designed to cut the government's housing benefit bill rather than being of significant benefit to tenants.

"The best way to help working people is to let them keep more of the money they earn" argued Osborne just minutes after he had announced a major blow to social housing tenants who earn more than 30,000 a year (or 40,000 in London). They will be penalised with 'market' level rents or will have to uproot themselves and move elsewhere. Yet the Rowntree foundation has calculated that a couple with two children need an income of 40,000 if they are to have an acceptable standard of living.

Youth and students

For young people, there is no respite. Students from low waged households have had their small lifeline of a means-tested grant removed, turned into more loans to weigh them down with ever more frightening levels of debt. Young people shouldn't go straight from school to the dole decreed Osborne, so he abolished housing benefit for 18 to 21 year olds, ensuring that instead they can go from school to sleeping on the street. For some though, there will be more slave labour 'apprenticeships'. And no one under 25 will be entitled to the national living wage.

Overall, this budget cuts nearly 13 billion a year from welfare, which will add to the existing terrible levels of deprivation and hardship. Pressure on claimants and job-seekers, already causing suicides when faced with benefits sanctions, will remain and in some cases be stepped up - parents of children over the age of three are now on the list of those to be hit.

Osborne and Cameron's measures will certainly not reduce the massive and escalating inequality in society, which of course is the expected outcome from this pro-big business capitalist government that looks after the interests of the rich and powerful. Neither will it alter the precariousness of the economy recovery, which is inherently weak and highly exposed to impending shocks from the eurozone and world economy.

The urgency of the measures agreed at the conference of the National Shop Stewards Conference on 4th July are ever more clear: Calling for the TUC to organise a national campaign of public meetings and rallies to build for coordinated strike action against austerity, including to prepare for a 24 hour general strike.

The Greek workers are saying no to austerity; so must we!

Judy Beishon

10/hour Now placard on the People's Assembly demo, 20.6.15, photo by Judy Beishon

10/hour Now placard on the People's Assembly demo, 20.6.15, photo by Judy Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

For a 10 an hour minimum wage now!

Chancellor George Osborne boasted in his budget speech of creating a "living wage" of 9 an hour by 2020. Although this is higher than the 8 an hour minimum wage by 2020 pledged by Labour in the general election, it will definitely not be a 'living wage'.

The current UK 'living wage' levels according to the Living Wage Foundation are 7.85 an hour and 9.15 an hour in London. The Socialist Party, along with most trade unions, campaigns for the immediate implementation of a 10 an hour minimum wage as a step toward a real living wage.

Dave Carr

Tax credits slashed

Osborne has tried to claim that the Tories are looking after working people. But the small promised increase in the minimum wage will not come close to compensating for the savaging of in-work benefits.

It is estimated that 45% of 'hardworking families' will be worse off as a result of the cuts to Working Tax Credit.

Previously, to qualify for maximum Working Tax Credit you had to earn less than 6,420 a year; now it is nearly half that at 3,850. The rate at which the benefit tapers off once you earn over that has also been increased. Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, says a family with one earner on average earnings will lose over 2,000 a year in tax credits. A family with one earner on the minimum wage would lose considerably more.

The promised 70p increase in the minimum wage (20p in October and 50p next April) would provide 1,092 extra a year for someone working a 30 hour week; nowhere near enough to compensate for the slashing of Working Tax Credits.

Hannah Sell

The losers:

...and the winners:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Budget:

triangleCouncil seeks to take budget deficit out on school staff and pupils

triangleLeicester: No-cuts budget only way forward

triangleValentine school strike against budget cuts and redundancies

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Saving women's services

triangleOver 2.5 million students emptied the classrooms on International Women's Day - 8th March - in the Spanish state, called out by Libres y Combativas. photo by LyC

Housing:

triangleLabour's mass social housing pledge

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: How to solve the housing crisis

triangleHousing - bold, socialist measures necessary

triangleBarking: campaigning over housing safety

Tax:

triangleWhat strategy can end the retail jobs massacre?

triangleBuild a working-class movement to force an election

triangleTake the wealth off the super-rich

Welfare:

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

triangleEnd Tory cold cruelty: life under austerity in Merthyr

Tenants:

triangle'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

Housing benefit:

triangleHousing arrears double, suicide risk soars - scrap Universal Credit!

Tories:

triangleSelling the Socialist

Cuts:

triangleEquity manifesto lays out anti-austerity model for arts

George Osborne:

triangleOsborne evades Carlisle socialists

International

International

10/10/19

Syria

Trump gives green light to Turkey to attack Kurds

9/10/19

Trump

Trump, impeachment and the need for an independent workers' party

9/10/19

China

Chinese revolution of 1944-49: 'The second greatest event in human history'

2/10/19

Egypt

Egypt: Street protests challenge Trump's favourite dictator

2/10/19

Catalonia

Catalonia independence movement two years on

25/9/19

Saudi Arabia

Drone attacks on Saudi Arabia: Tensions ratcheted up

18/9/19

South Africa

Violence against women in South Africa

11/9/19

London

West Papuans demand self-determination in London

11/9/19

South Africa

South Africa: Xenophobic violence - a product of failed capitalist policies

11/9/19

Far right

Far right makes gains in Germany

4/9/19

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests: No let-up in trial of strength

28/8/19

Italy

Italy: Governing coalition fractures as Salvini looks to capitalise on crisis

14/8/19

Hong Kong

Pro-democracy protests continue to rage

14/8/19

Kashmir

Kashmir crisis: Stop the attack on democratic rights

31/7/19

Puerto Rico

Mass movement topples governor of Puerto Rico

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999