We’re six years into the Osborne experiment, and the Chancellor is still forcing the British people to swallow the same medicine – even when it’s clear it’s not working.
The Chancellor’s economic policies have wreaked untold damage on essential community services. Local councils have already cut back so much that there’s little else that can go. Their cupboards are already bare, but still the Chancellor demands more.
By the Chancellor’s own admission, growth is down for this year – and subsequent years – even on projections released barely 100 days ago in the Autumn Statement.
Osborne blames the global climate, but it’s his own policies that are to blame. This is Chancellor getting his excuses in early.
A Budget for the next generation would ensure that libraries and children’s centres weren’t being closed. And that councils were building new houses for hard-pressed families, not selling the best properties to fund right to buy sales.
The Chancellor’s willingness to ‘act now so we don’t pay later’ will jar with the thousands of public servants keeping our hospitals and local councils going – despite working under intolerable pressures. Squeezed budgets and job cuts mean fewer public servants are left to cope with ever increasing demands on services.
If George Osborne was serious about boosting the UK’s flagging economy, he should have reversed the public sector pay cap. Giving NHS, local authority, schools and police staff a much deserved pay rise would ease the squeeze on family budgets and give local economies a long overdue boost.
But instead there’s at least four more years of painful cuts, cuts that will continue to hit the most deprived areas of the country the hardest.
And public servants will be left to pick up the tab.