- Cuts to the Energy Price Guarantee will push millions more into Fuel Poverty
- Hunt abandons promise to reform social care provision
- He threatens working-class people with a ‘difficult year ahead‘
- Waves of strikes set to bring winter of discontent
Scottish Socialist Party National Cospokesperson Colin Fox has issued a response to the Chancellor’s Budget Statement.
“Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget statement today was designed to both ‘balance the books’ and shore up political support inside his own party. He was selected as Chancellor to ‘steady the ship’ after Liz Truss’s October mini-budget spooked the financial markets and saw political support for the Tories plunge to rock bottom.
“His job today was therefore to conduct a political U-turn on Truss’s entire programme. The question is will his plan to bring down inflation and interest rates over the next year work, or are we set for a crisis-ridden Labour Government?
“The headline details of his financial Statement today make for interesting reading and include:
- A £55bn package of tax rises and public spending cuts
- The Energy Price Guarantee for example will be reduced from £100bn over the next 2 years to £30bn, meaning the average gas and electricity bill will rise by a further £900 in April to £3,000 per annum.
- Whilst he intends to raise the statutory National Living Wage to £10.40 for those over 23 [from £9.50] this is a cost that will be passed to employers.
- Cuts in public spending are to be made in every government department except the NHS, Defence, and Education. Those cuts are to fall ‘pro rata’ on the devolved governments.
- Scrap plans for a 1.5% NIC rise to pay for much-needed social care reforms.
- Keeps ‘the triple lock’ on pensions and therefore institutes a 10% rise in April
“‘The next 12 months will be difficult’ said Hunt ominously at a time when the inflation rate for the poorest families is already running at 14%, the biggest increase since 1977.
“The Tories desperately hope this budget plan will bring down inflation and interest rates as we enter a prolonged economic recession and a pre-election period. Time will tell.
“Meanwhile, support for strike action is at record levels in the many ballots being conducted across Britain by nurses, posties, teachers, firefighters and college lecturers because the fall in their living standards means they face the poorest economic prospects in 40 years.”