Labour has responded to Theresa May’s conference claim that she is going to bring an end to austerity, with a withering retort from straight-talking MP and party chair Ian Lavery.
Lavery pointed out the huge cuts to some of the UK’s poorest families signalled this week by DWP Secretary Esther McVey – and May’s evident desperation in promising a reversal of a Tory policy that has persisted in spite of eight years of damage:
With the Government about to impose some of their most brutal cuts yet on working people, Theresa May’s claim that austerity is over is a con.
The Tories have spent their entire time in power running down our schools, local services and NHS, while gifting huge tax breaks to big business.
The Prime Minister is clearly spooked, so is resorting to desperate pleas in an attempt revive her failing administration. The British public won’t be fooled.
A zombie that just won’t die
McVey told the Cabinet this week that millions of families would lose £200 a month – £2400 a year – under the new Universal Credit system. While appalling, it’s far from the only way in which the zombie of austerity continues.
The Tories have reportedly refused to yet say if public services will get above inflation settlements in the spending review.
The IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies) has said there are still more benefit cuts to come. As of March 2018, 75% of ‘savings’ from welfare cuts announced since July 2015 had yet to be felt.
After the last Spring Statement the Resolution Foundation said that there will be £2.5 billion of further cuts in 2018/19, rising to £2.7 billion in 2019/20. By 2022/23 the poorest one-third of households will be £745 a year worse off – in contrast to the richest third which will be better off.
Only a fifth of the £10 billion worth of cuts announced in the Summer Budget of 2015 that directly affect household incomes have been delivered so far.
Further cuts in 2018-19 will amount to £2.5 billion, with that figure rising again – to £2.7 billion – in 2019-20: cuts that will, as usual, hit the worst-off hardest. By 2022-23, the poorest third of households are expected to be £745 a year worse off than they would have been had no policy changes been made after March 2015. In contrast, the richest third will be £140 better off.
Council bosses in England say the “worst is yet to come” in cuts to services, as councils are forced to identify at least £1bn in further ‘savings’ to try to plug a £1.5bn shortfall by 2020.
The LGA (Local Government Association) said on Monday that on current plans there will be a £3.9 billion black hole in funding of services by 2019/20, rising to £7.8 billion by 2024/25.
The UK’s need for a Labour government becomes more desperate by the day – and the desperate are suffering the most.
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