Labour’s response to May’s ‘end’ to austerity: a brutal con

Labour Party chair Ian Lavery MP

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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    1. I’d say a body searching for a heart, a soul, compassion, conscience, morality and empathy. A body shivering because it’s hollow, like most Tories.

  1. And so-called Labour councils, usually of the hard right inclination, will continue to pay dozens of their senior officers far more than the bounty enjoyed by local MPs (£79,000 per annum). Wirral’s CEO for example got a £45,000 per year “golden hello” upon arrival.

    Resisting austerity would require these councils to pool their considerable, collective might against the Tories’ ideological steamroller. And it would bring some power to bear.

    But instead they lie flat and invite it in through the front door… so long as they can collect their personal cash bonanzas whilst continuing to whimper, feign victimhood, plead poverty, outsource our services Tory style and raise council tax to cover the soaring senior wage bill.

    And it’s the vulnerable citizens they have a statutory obligation to protect who suffer and yes, are rendered homeless and die before their time.

    1. Sadly for as long as I can remember people have used the Labour Party to further their personal ambitions rather than being motivated by socialist values,as is demonstrated by a number of our current MPs. My local council is made up entirely of Labour councillors and are under considerable financial pressure but still found the resources to grant the council leader a 13% pay increase. Unfortunately things like that ,and the Wirral example, tarnish us all.

  2. ‘Austerity is over’ is going to be a perfect way to attack the Tories for the next year. It might have helped her over the conference but its a dagger that will dig deeper and deeper over the year

  3. I wonder if the Left could have been more proactive. Labour could have gone on the offence much more. For example…

    Labour could could have published the data relating to all the homeless people who havedied during the Tory conference.

    Labour could have researched statistics pertaining to the number of people who’ve slept rough, been sanctioned and who have been forced to beg at food banks for individual days of the Tory conference and published those figures via huge posters which could have been displayed in a People’s Assembly style PR action.

    So many ‘coulds’.

  4. Yes good points by Ian Lavery on the CONservatives latest CON in pretending to be for all when their first act re Austerity was to protect the rich and powerful from it – tax cuts for: millionaires, big business corporations, private landlords with multiple properties, hedge funds (who gave £50m to the Tories) so don’t worry rich and powerful this austerity stuff is ONLY for working people! I travel through a University area and most of the people on the bus look so healthy but when going to poorer areas in my city on the bus I feel like Charles Dickens and people just look Knackered by tough lives. But perhaps Labour should also counter the Tory CON by appealing to the general middle class too? 2 miles from my small inner area is a very posh area where people have done well and have been a success in life and best of luck to them but just imagine how much sweeter would that success taste if we could seriously address poverty including child poverty, and poor pay as well as buiding the homes that are needed etc? Solidarity!

  5. The Labour Party have always refused to address the elephant in the room! Too many people earn too much; too many people earn too little. £10 per hour is not a decent living wage & paying income tax when you earn less than £13k? The bourgeoisie have always made the rules & still continue to do so. ‘Top people’ deserve ‘top wages’, but if you pay peanuts……….The average working wage is approx £26k. The ‘gig’ economy is not only acceptable, but becoming normalised. terms & conditions of employment are under attack in our ‘progressive’ society. A highly ‘flexible workforce’ is necessary as our manufacturing economy crumbles? MSM constantly maintains the status quo; never daring to question.

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