‘Insulted’ staff ‘must make do with clapping and badges’
The Tories have heaped insult and injury on NHS and other front-line heroes of the pandemic today by piling additional burdens onto them and others on low and medium incomes.
Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced no plan to give NHS staff and other public sector workers a pay rise – and has put a five-year freeze on rises to the income thresholds that trigger the 20% and 40% tax rates. The personal allowance that people can earn before paying any tax will rise to £12,750 in April but then be frozen for five years, forcing an estimated additional million low earners into paying tax on meagre incomes and others on slightly .
He did not freeze increases to the top 45% tax threshold.
At the same time, Sunak announced a similar freeze on the lifetime pension allowance – a move that medical colleges predict will force many doctors to cut their hours or retire early to avoid tax penalties, at a time when the NHS is short of some 100,000 staff.
The GMB union, which represents many NHS and other public sector workers, said:
This budget is an insult to the millions of NHS, schools, care, local government workers who have seen us through this crisis.
Professor Kailash Chand, former deputy chair of the British Medical Association and an NHS activist, referred bitingly to the Tories’ obsession with ‘claps for carers’ and Matt Hancock’s insulting ‘NHS badge’ offer to recognise the massive sacrificses NHS staff have made during the pandemic:
The NHS family will have to do with ‘clapping and badges’. The Chancellor is not the NHS’s friend.
Despite the scam of Sunak’s budget, which does nothing to help workers or the NHS yet rips off the headlines of the manifestos of Corbyn’s Labour without the substance, the Tories have been able to paint this fiasco as generous and bold with the help of the pliant ‘mainstream’ media – in large part because of the complete lack of effective opposition from Keir Starmer’s front bench, with Starmer even trying to fight the increases in corporation tax that Sunak has announced.
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