Socialist Worker

The gloves are off as George Osborne reveals new brutal cuts

The cuts announced in the spending review are a serious escalation of the Tories’ war on workers and the welfare state, writes Simon Basketter

Issue No. 2360

members in PCS union holding up stop the cuts placards behind a man wearing a mask of george osborne

PCS members protest against Osborne's cuts (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Tory chancellor George Osborne smugly delivered the government’s spending review last week.

It marked a serious escalation of the Tories’ war on workers and the welfare state.

And if unchallenged the cuts will drive millions of people into deep poverty and desperation.

This spending round delivers total cuts of £11.5 billion for 2015-16, including £5 billion from so called “efficiency” savings.

Osborne repeatedly whined that the country is “moving out of intensive care”.

“If we abandoned our deficit plan, Britain would be back in intensive care,” he claimed.

In fact the economy has not recovered from the recession and Osborne’s cuts have made the patient much, much weaker.

For those holding onto their jobs, Osborne announced a new clampdown on public sector pay.

Public sector wage rises would be held below 1 percent—again.

He also is scrapping automatic pay rises for nurses, police and prison officers, teachers and doctors.

The multi-millionaire heir to a baronetcy said, “Progression pay can at best be described as antiquated.

“At worst, it’s deeply unfair.”

The chancellor told MPs that cuts in pay will limit job losses.

Yet even the government’s Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that 144,000 jobs will be slashed in central and local government over the next two years.

Osborne said of his spending review three years ago, “I said then that around half a million posts in the public sector were forecast to have to go.”
It is the only prediction he has made that is true.

The Daily Mirror newspaper estimates that the ban on automatic wage rises will mean nurses will have lost £1,711 since the coalition came to office in 2010.

A home carer will have lost £2,100. The average nurse’s salary is £26,614 and the average care assistant’s is £12,959.

The chancellor signalled a further 10 percent budget cut for local government from 2015. It would stretch councils to breaking point.

The latest council cuts come on top of previous cuts of 33 percent.

Local government bosses warned that some councils would struggle and some may go bust.

Over £2 billion has been cut—on average £30 million per council. This will close more Sure Start children’s centres, libraries and youth services.

Overall the sums presume that after these £11.5 billion in cuts there will be a further £13 billion in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Labour’s response to all this was an utter disgrace. It promised to stick to these spending targets if elected.

To add icing to the cake, shadow chancellor Ed Balls boasted that Labour was tougher on unemployed people than the Tories.

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