Socialist Worker

George Osborne: more misery to come

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2281

Picketing at Queen Mary University on Wednesday (Pic: Lloyd Ramos)

Picketing at Queen Mary University on Wednesday (Pic: Lloyd Ramos)


George Osborne spat into the face of the working class last Tuesday.

As millions of workers prepared to strike, the smug Tory chancellor decided to cut their pay and increase their retirement age—again.

Public sector workers already suffering a two-year pay freeze will see increases “capped” at 1 percent.

With inflation running at 5.4 percent, this is effectively a 20 percent pay cut over four years.

Osborne also brought forward his planned increase in the pension age. Workers set to retire after 2026 will now have to work until 67.

Slashing

And he announced that, instead of slashing 400,000 public sector jobs, he’d destroy 710,000.

Osborne said he would do “whatever it takes” to cut the deficit.

Apparently, what it takes is to throw money at the bosses and the bankers—and take it from the rest of us.

Every spiteful announcement means huge cuts in living ­standards for millions of workers.

Tax credits have been frozen, except for working tax credit which has been moved to the lower CPI rate of inflation. An increase in child tax credits has been cancelled.

Osborne also announced plans to attack regional pay adjustments, Tupe employment transfer rights and working hours.

But while there is no money for public services, there is plenty for the bosses.

An extra £1 billion was found for a “business-finance partnership”—a recipe for more PFI and privatisation.

And from April next year, anyone investing up to £100,000 in a new business will be eligible for income tax relief of 50 percent.

If capital, such as profits, is used to invest then it will be tax free.

Osborne showered business with gifts. Anyone investing in the Tories’ “enterprise zones”, where firms are encouraged to employ low-paid workers, will now get even more tax breaks.

And he handed £40 billion to the banks to back loans for the bosses.

The interest they will pay is just 1 percent.

And he announced 500 “infrastructure projects”—but all will be based on tax breaks for the bosses and further privatisation.

Osborne’s solution to the housing crisis was to “reinvigorate the right to buy”.

Discounts

This means those with money will now be able to buy social and council housing at discounts of up to 50 percent.

All this is put forward as a way of fixing the economy. But the reality is that the Tories’ austerity measures are wrecking it.

Even the government’s preferred economic forecaster, its own Office for Budget Responsibility, predicts that unemployment will be higher and the economy will grow slower than its last set of fantasy figures suggested.

And even this is all premised on the bizarre assumption that the eurozone crisis simply, as if by magic, disappears.

Osborne has declared war on workers in Britain.

His vicious statement gives us even more reasons to build a movement that can bring this brutal government down.


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