George Osborne’s ugly society

by Helen Godwin Tiege

The news is full of the budget, and it seems George Osborne is getting himself into a pickle after breaking the “don’t mess the with pensioners” rule. Even the Daily Mail has turned on the Tories, along with almost every other newspaper.

We have also heard how great this budget is for business, with the scrapping of the 50p tax rate and further reduction in corporation tax. The CEO of Glaxo, Sir Andrew Whitty, was quite happy for the chancellor to claim their announcement today, that they will create over 1000 new roles, was a result of new measures announced in the budget, as well as the Labour-led changes to patenting laws.

We heard from several “business-leaders” who felt that the scrapping of the 50p rate would mean that Britain was once again “open for business”. And this is all great news, only a twisted cynic would want to see the economy fail or go into stagnation after what has been a troubling and difficult 4 years. If these measure really will bring investment and job creation to Britain then I would not want to oppose them.

However, I cannot see how such changes which ultimately benefit individuals can be introduced at a time when there is still rising unemployment, a very real threat of a “lost generation” and millions of people around the country about to face their darkest times as a result of local authority cuts that come into effect from April.

Can it be true that just two years after the election the Conservatives are coming very close to creating their utopia; a Britain in which business rules, the rich get richer and the state is reduced to a mechanism for cash-flow with no sociological responsibilities?

Unfashionable as it may be, let’s put Labours feted “squeezed-middle” aside for a moment. We are in real danger of accepting a scenario of an underclass who are to be ignored, unsupported and vilified; the government’s mantra of “hard working families” seeks to suggest that those who aren’t in work (regardless of the reason – disability, redundancy, young families…) are somehow choosing their position; giving the government an opportunity to avoid confronting the ticking time bomb of high unemployment.

By forcing such enormous cuts onto local authorities the government has effectively swept the vast majority of Britain’s social problems under the carpet. Westminster will avoid accountability for the undeniable outcomes for as long as possible. The story of cuts in key council services such as social care, care for the disabled and elderly as well as the loss of funding for so many support groups in the voluntary sector can only have one ending.

An ugly society where the vulnerable become more at risk, while amongst Osborne’s set some smug millionaires get richer as they turn a blind eye to 2012’s two tier Britain.

Helen Godwin Tiege is a Labour party campaigner

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4 Responses to “George Osborne’s ugly society”

  1. Derek Emery says:

    The UK does poorly in the G20 as a place to create and grow businesses and is 14th see—UK-in-bottom-half-of-G20-in-providing-a-supportive-environment-for-young-entrepreneurs

    This means that the wealth creation necessary to fund the public sector and create new jobs is weak. Its a leftish dream to think that all you need is a humongous public sector. Only the private sector can generate a tradeable surplus. A tradeable surplus is essential to pay for the essential imports such as fuel gas and food. The public sector cannot generate a tradeable surplus. The UK has had large balance of payments deficits for years, mainly with the EU. This leads to perennial borrowing but you cannot do this forever as the PIIGS have proved. In the endrating companies catch on and interest rates increase.

  2. statechaos says:

    You make no mention of the million people who will be taken out of tax altogether due to the increase in personal allowance – a huge boost to the lowest paid in our society. What is ugly about that?

  3. Anon E Mouse says:

    Helen Godwin Tiege

    Your party rewarded the city slickers, spivs and bankers like no government in history whilst at the same time punishing the poorest in society by removing the 10p tax rate.

    What is not ugly about that behaviour?

  4. BenM says:

    @Anon E Mouse

    “Your party rewarded the city slickers, spivs and bankers like no government in history”

    And the Tories before them were the 2nd best enrich-eners of bankers.

    And the Tory opposition 1997-2008 certainly would not have countenanced any moves to diminish the rate at which bankers were being enriched in this period.

    “at the same time punishing the poorest in society by removing the 10p tax rate.”

    Labour introduced the 10p tax rate. And also the low rate VAT on fuel.

    And as foolish as removing the 10p rate was, it was partly counterbalanced by rises in tax credits.

    There simply is no comparison between that and Osborne reverting Tories to type by ripping off pensioners to fund tax cuts for the wealthiest 1pc.

    Last week’s budget is a lot uglier than anything Labour did.

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