CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown's budget promises are smoke and mirrors. He says he will save the NHS and continue the fight against poverty. But we've heard these promises before, and they don't add up. New Labour's says, for example, that it 'lifted 1.2 million children out of poverty' from 1997 to 2001.
Government figures last week showed this claim to be a lie. The Child Poverty Action Group charity says that 'the government was wrong' to make its claim. The best the real figures could support was a fall in the number of children living in poverty to the level it was in 1995 under the Tories. 'New Labour Achieves Same As Tories On Poverty' would have been a more truthful headline than those pushed by the government.
Work and pensions secretary Alastair Darling made a grotesque attempt to spin the lie away.
He said that what the government meant was that it had cut poverty compared to what it would have been if the Tories had continued their polices. New Labour has not delivered on its promise to cut child poverty in its five years in office.
Why should anyone believe Brown's new claims now? The chancellor also talks of giving more money to the NHS. But he refuses to target those with more than enough cash in their pockets to fund the NHS and all our public services properly-the rich and big business. And any talk of extra money for health and other services is accompanied by demands for 'reform'.
Under New Labour that means more privatisation and PFI schemes. The government is pressing ahead with privatisation of the London Underground. The reality behind Brown's budget is that while he fiddles about with tax credits he allows the super-rich to avoiding paying even the tax they are meant to. And all the while New Labour is pocketing millions from big business for favours.