Socialist Worker

Sunak prepares budget for the rich and bosses

by Isabel Ringrose
Issue No. 2778

Rishi Sunak with last years budget

Rishi Sunak with last year's budget (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget and three‑year spending review mean continued attacks on working class people.

We know that even before he unveils his plans on Wednesday.

No doubt there will be some recycled ­spending pledges such as the money for transport outside London. In advance of his speech Sunak was forced to admit that most of that cash had already been put forward.

Sunak will announce the end of this year's public sector pay freeze. But there won't be any compensation for the money lost.

And we know that he won’t call for a 15 percent rise for the NHS workers.

There won’t be a ­restoration of the £20 a week Universal Credit cut and an extension of the increase to all claimants.

There won’t be a return now of the pensions triple lock that the Tories broke an election promise to abandon.There won’t be real action over soaring fuel prices and rising rents.

On Monday Sunak's officials confirmed that the minimum wage for workers aged 23 and over will rise from £8.91 an hour to £9.50.

But a worker on the minimum wage affected by the removal of the universal credit uplift, higher national insurance contributions and a freeze in income tax personal allowances, will still be £807 worse off from April. And that's before taking into account the expected rise in gas and electricity prices next year.

But bankers will be protected and there will be money for attacks on ­refugees and migrants.

Profits

Sunak was expected to cut a tax surcharge on bank profits by more than 60 percent. The chancellor’s priority is keeping the City of London happy.

The surcharge will fall from eight to three percent from April 2023.

Banks pay tax at a rate of 27 percent on their ­profits—19 ­percent ­corporation tax and 8 percent surcharge. Sunak had promised to raise ­corporation tax to 25­ percent, so will now drop the surcharge.

Border Force cutters will be replaced by 11 new vessels.

There will be £700 million to harden Britain’s borders and hurl back desperate people seeking safety and a better life. This includes £628 ­million “to modernise and ­digitalise the border”.

Proposals include a US-style electronic system to authorise tourists’ travels.

Sunak will also say there is more money for the NHS.

NHS in deep crisis as Covid-19 cases allowed to spread unchecked
NHS in deep crisis as Covid-19 cases allowed to spread unchecked
  Read More

But it’s far less than what’s needed, and it is for ­capital spending—buildings and equipment—when the most immediate crisis is the lack of workers. 

A decades-long rundown in the NHS workforce, and a lack of planning to produce sufficient staff, now mean a crisis.

The Health Foundation charity estimates it will take 4,000 more doctors and 17,000 more nurses just to clear the immediate ­backlog caused by the Tories’ ­handling of the pandemic.

Pay

Instead the government is driving workers away by cutting real terms pay and ignoring the reality of stressed-out workers.

The central question is who will pay for the ­pandemic. It ought to be the rich who have prospered.

Instead Sunak wants working class people to bear the cost.

And while that happens Labour makes only the mildest criticisms.

Asked on Monday what his “big idea” was, Keir Starmer replied “cut business rates”


Cuts led to 57,500 more deaths and shorter life expectancies, reports say

A report in the run-up to the budget showed that Tory-imposed poverty caused over 50,000 more deaths between 2010 to 2015 than expected.

Austerity driven cuts to the NHS, public health and social care have also caused a slowdown in life expectancy.

The study was reported in the BMJ Open journal.

It found that From 2010 to 2014-5, there were 57,500 more deaths than there would have been had public sector spending growth matched that of the previous decade.

These figures only cover the first five years of austerity, meaning many more are expected to have died in the last six years.

Real spending on social care rose by 2.2percent between 2001-02 and 2009-10, but fell by 1.57 percent between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

The loss of social care funding caused a staggering 23,662 additional deaths according to the study conducted by the university of York.

And that was just the start of the toll.

Soared

Healthcare spending rose by 3.82 percent in the first period, but only by 0.41 percent in the latter. Cuts to healthcare spending led to 33,888 extra deaths.

Meanwhile another study published in the Lancet medical journal reported that life expectancy has plummeted in areas in the north of England over the last decade.

The gap with the richest areas has also soared.

The parts of England worst hit were urban areas such as Blackpool, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

Analysis of the deaths in England between 2002 and 2019 found that life expectancy rose in most places during the first decade of this century.

But the sharp decline began from 2010—when Tory prime minister David Cameron’s cuts were introduced.

There is a 27 year gap in life expectancy between a man living in a rich neighbourhood in London’s Kensington and Chelsea, and a man in Blackpool.

In parts of the north life expectancy hit below 70 for men and 75 for women. The average life expectancy for men in Britain is 79 years, and just below 83 for women.

Tory cuts kill.


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