Socialist Worker

Budget day: chancellor will reveal his plan for pain

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2206

The emergency budget on Tuesdsay of next week will be a blueprint for misery for working class people in Britain.

We are each likely to become around £1,000 a year worse off when all the cuts and tax rises are added up.

The Tories’ newest economic think-tank, the Office for Budget Responsibility, said the plans “set the scene for a painful budget”.

They include cuts in tax credits for poor people and families, a rise in VAT—which hits the poor hardest—and huge hikes in student fees.

One of the most shocking measures currently being touted by the Tories is the complete abolition of incapacity benefit within the next four years. Chris Grayling, the government’s work and pensions minister, says the so-called “handouts culture” must be stopped.

Anyone on incapacity benefits will have to be reassessed from next April.

They may be moved onto harsh schemes that force them into work—or have a private company breathing down their necks to “encourage” them.

Chopping

The coalition is also eyeing up public sector pensions for the chopping block.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said of the pensions, “The current situation is not just unfair, it’s not affordable.”

But the GMB union points out that the average pension payment is only £4,000 a year for men and £2,600 for women—and the scheme gets in £4 billion more every year than is paid out.

Attacks on the public sector are a theme throughout the Tory plans—on pensions, jobs and services.

The attacks on higher education will take an extra step in holding back ordinary people. David Willetts, the universities minister, has said students will have to pay higher tuition fees and offer “better value for money”.

Even student loans, which replaced grants and already burden students with around £10,000 of debt, have been attacked.

They are deemed “unsustainable” and could be taxed. They currently already increase with inflation. They also want to lift the £3,225 cap on tuition fees.

We cannot stand by while these toffs slash away. It is time to join Greek and Spanish workers and resist the cuts.


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