Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/24874

Posted on 9 March 2017 at 8:23 GMT

Tory budget - dull but nasty

Roger Bannister, Liverpool Socialist Party

Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hamond's first budget had been predicted by several commentators to be a dull budget. It certainly had few highlights to raise any excitement, and in particular among working class people. What this budget actually represents is the continuing relentless pursuit of austerity measures - the massive financial attack on public services - that are causing misery to millions of working class people.

Jokes?

There is little to laugh about for millions of workers in Britain, but throughout his budget speech, Hammond cracked jokes aimed at the opposition parliamentary benches. However his biggest 'joke' attracted no laughter from Tory MPs, when he declared the Tories to be the party of the NHS! Clearly the quarter of a million people that marched through London four days earlier in defence of the NHS did not find this quip amusing either.

£325 million has been put into the NHS budget for the new Sustainability and Transformation Plans, but this money will have no direct impact on patient care. It will go as overheads to the consultancies and managers implementing the STPs, which will result in massive cuts to service delivery.

Crisis in social care

The public outcry about the crisis in social care has forced Hammond into a partial U-turn. Having previously denied the need for any bailout, he has now put an additional £2 billion, over three years, for social care in England. But this amount is just half of the £4 billion already cut from the social care budget, and represents just 33% of what is needed to bring social care provision up to acceptable levels and standards.

Pay restraint

Public sector pay restraint is to be maintained, meaning that the real terms pay of millions of public sector workers, many of whom are low paid, will continue to fall.

Forecasts and targets

Hammond based his budget on an optimistic forecast for economic growth, which he raised from 1.4% to 2%, which is not supported by many economists.

Also, his borrowing predictions of £51.7 billion in 2016-17 and £58.3 billion in 2017/18 acknowledges the previous abandonment by the government of a surplus by the end of the decade.

Contradictory approach to small businesses and self-employed

The Tories traditionally pose as the champions of small businesses and the self-employed. Hammond did nod in the direction of small businesses, many of which are struggling in the current economic climate, by delaying a year in implementing quarterly reporting for businesses below the VAT threshold. Also he capped business rate rises to £50 a month for small businesses losing their rate relief, and pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 will get a £1,000 discount on business rates.

These measures are intended to quell opposition within the Tory back benches, which had been picked up by some right-wing press sources. At the same time Hammond is increasing the National Insurance contributions of self-employed people, which in the current 'gig' economy will impact on the growing numbers of workers forced into artificial forms of self-employment by unscrupulous companies unwilling to shoulder the responsibilities of an employer. This measure is undoubtedly an overturning of the Tory election manifesto pledge not to increase National Insurance.

'Sin' taxes

While duties on alcohol and tobacco products remain unchanged, sugar is clearly the latest 'sin tax', now set at 18p and 24p for the main and higher bands.

No real help for low paid

Low paid workers face a kick in the teeth as the so-called 'National Living Wage' will only rise to £7.50 an hour, far from a genuine living wage, and way off the target of reaching £9 an hour by 2020.

Personal tax allowances for basic rate taxpayers will rise to £11,500, to satisfy original proposals to take the low paid out of the tax system.

Education

This budget effectively sets policy in important areas of education. While few could argue with additional funding for PhD placements, £320 million set aside to fund 110 new free schools, and the extension of free school transport to children at selective schools receiving free school meals, firmly establishes the Tory agenda of turning their back on the majority of schools, most of which are underfunded. They are funding their pet project of independent, increasingly selective schools, a back door route to the reintroduction of grammar schools.

Local government

Chronically underfunded local authorities are to receive no additional funding to keep their day-to-day services running, despite being the hardest hit of all the public services, but are to share £690 million to reduce urban congestion.

Devolution tensions

The Tories' continuing fear of the break up of the UK can be seen in additional funding allocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it is doubtful that the allocated £670 million will do much to solve the problems of ordinary workers living under these devolved administrations.

Organise and fight

Coming from a right-wing Tory government, there are few surprises in this budget. The cuts in public services will continue, with the NHS tottering on the brink of disaster and local government services reduced to bare minimum levels, and below that in many areas.

Last Saturday's NHS demonstration shows that there is a mood to fight back amongst working class people. The Socialist Party argues and campaigns for further broad action, backed by the public sector unions, with industrial action where necessary, to defend public services and public sector jobs. The trade unions should also be pushed from below into action to break the pay freeze, and to abolish low pay.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Budget:

triangleBirmingham: Cuts consultations replaced by computer game

trianglePeople's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again

triangleBuilding People's Budgets: An alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

triangleBuilding a political alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

triangleBirmingham People's Budget

Workers:

triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

triangleCanada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

Schools:

trianglePerfect storm brewing in education

triangleOaks Park School: valiant strike exposed state of schools

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

Pay:

triangleTV review: This is Going to Hurt

triangleJust Eat couriers continue action to fight pay cut

NHS:

trianglePrivatisation and crisis in the NHS

Government:

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

Public services:

triangleTories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services

Tories:

triangleTories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

Tax:

triangleCut our fuel bills - nationalise energy

Local government:

triangleSwansea Trades Council pledges to fight local government cuts

Cuts:

triangleSurrey: Unions and campaigns say stand as an anti-cuts candidate

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

23/2/22

Workers

The Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

23/2/22

Birmingham

Vote Nellist for a workers' MP in Erdington

23/2/22

Unite

Unite and fight for a decent pay rise

23/2/22

NHS

Privatisation and crisis in the NHS

23/2/22

Covid

Johnson scraps Covid safety measures

23/2/22

Britain

Tories instruct teachers to wipe Britain's real history

23/2/22

Bus

Bus services under threat

16/2/22

PCS

PCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership

16/2/22

Britain

Britain's economic growth figures mask fragile false recovery

16/2/22

Covid

Covid: Fight for full sick pay

16/2/22

Coventry

'Labour by name - Tory by policy'

16/2/22

Taxes

Tory stealth taxes burden 'packhorse generation'

16/2/22

Labour

Left Labour MPs under pressure over Erdington

16/2/22

London

Neither Washington, London nor Moscow

16/2/22

Police

Met police boss ousted

triangleMore News and socialist analysis 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: [email protected]

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999