Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cuts "Regressive" - Official!

Here's a couple of quotes "
Nick Clegg Apr 2010 IFS... "concluded that the Lib Dems’ plan is the most credible." 
Nick Clegg Oct 2010 IFS..... "distorted and a complete nonsense"
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has been the Lib/Con coalition's think-tank of choice: Nick Clegg thinks (or thought, see above) that it was wonderful when it endorsed his plans. It is certainly one of the most respected organisations commenting on economic matters in the UK.  George Osborne was so impressed that he even poached Andrew Dilnot, the chair of the organisation, to take charge of his own creation, the Office for Budget Responsibility.

So when the IFS says George is lying, you have to sit up and listen. In the IFS presentations on the cuts, the IFS acting director, Carl Emmerson says that the claim by Osborne that the cuts are, at 19% of departmental budgets, less than the 20% Labour was committed to, is untrue. To quote;
"...But the new Government has already implemented cuts to spending in this
year, thereby reducing the base for Mr Osborne’s comparison. So, by 2014–15 departmental spending is forecast to be below the level implied by the plans set out in Labour’s last Budget. And because this is true, any like-for-like comparison of spending in “unprotected areas” would also be higher in 2014– 15 under the last Government’s plans than under the new Government’s plans.."
He also points out that the cuts are regressive
"....The Treasury’s modelling shows that the benefit measures announced yesterday will hit those in the bottom half of the income distribution more as a share of their income than those in the top half...."
and hit the poor hardest particularly poor children
"...benefits will be focussed more on pensioners and less on families with children....".
None of this is a surprise: I have no doubt that the cuts are as much idelogical as economically driven, they are too deep and too quick and the aim is to end the Welfare State as we know it. It appears more than two thirds of the population agree with me.

But there is one aspect I have found particularly hard to bear...and that is the unseemly gusto with which George Osborne announced the cuts and the cheers with which Tory/Lib Dem MPs greeted them. It is one thing to believe (wrongly IMO) that you have to make savage cuts: it’s quite another to do so with unbridled enthusiasm and little apparent thought for the practical result of your actions.

When hundreds of local authority social workers or care assistants are sacked and their clients suffer because of these cuts, and when benefits are denied the poorest and most deserving, we will remember those whoops of delight from the Lib/Tory coalition and understand the kind of people to whom we have given control of our society.

By then, unfortunately,  a lot of damage will have been done, damage that a future Labour Government will have to addresss and fix.....just as they had to salvage civil society after the savagery of Thatcher....... plus ca change...

1 comment:

  1. Plus c'est la même chose.

    Yep. Good post.

    I was disgusted as people who had salted away their money in Trusts or in the British Virgin Islands cheered at the fact that kids will die this winter of cold; people will be thrown out on the street and sick people will be made to work, or at least to apply (pointlessly) for work that they will not be fit to do, while poor Mr Cameron will be £2,500 worse off in 2012, and won't even notice it.

    When the first person dies, I hope what's left of the English justice system puts Gideon away for a 20 stretch.