Spring Statement - A masterclass in privileged complacency.

Tories continue with a policy that makes us worse off.

The Tory Chancellor's Spring Statement was a masterclass in privileged complacency. A series of empty boasts about the strength of the economy are completely undermined by the forecasts of his own Treasury Department.

In those forecasts, economic growth slows to 1.5% this and never gets back above that level in the next 5 years. Real wages are only expected to rise because inflation comes down, which depends on many factors including global commodity prices and the exchange rate of the pound, which are completely beyond the Chancellor's knowledge, let alone his power. 

The OECD forecasts, coincidentally published at the same time, show UK growth this year at 1.3%, and slower than every other major economy.

Public services will continue to be starved of funds, so that per person, in real terms (after inflation) spending on everything from the NHS to schools, to housing and local government spending will continue to fall.

The Tories boast that a fiscal target has been met, that current spending (day to day spending, not including investment), yet this simply highlights their drive to greater inequality to transfer incomes from workers and the poor to big business and the rich. The main factor in this improvement is simply due to inflation. When many parts of government spending are frozen, such as public sector pay and other big ticket items like social security, inflation cuts their value in real terms. At the same time, inflation will boost receipts where prices aren't frozen, such as VAT receipts and company profits. 

In effect, the better deficit position is achieved on the backs of workers and the poor, who have seen their real pay flat or falling, along with real public spending, but who have had to endure higher prices at the same time. This is the Tory austerity 'success'.

What is needed is a government committed to ending austerity and increasing public investment to create high quality, highly paid jobs and to reverse the cuts in spending on public services. This government will never do that. They are in denial that there is even a problem. The sooner they are kicked out, the better.

By Ramona McCartney

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