Despite all the rhetoric, the previous Chancellor’s austerity plan is still very much intact. There was precious little, if anything, for our beleaguered public services.
The government is spreading the ‘jam’ far too thinly. Public service workers and the health, education and local council services they provide are hurting badly.
Aside from those on the very lowest wages, the pay misery for school, hospital and town hall staff goes on. The government’s stubborn refusal to end the one per cent pay cap means wages are lagging way behind rising food and fuel prices, causing real financial hardship.
Hopes had been raised that the Chancellor would conjure up extra cash for social care, and ease the burden on the NHS and local councils struggling to keep a lid on the growing crisis.
Instead the government has chosen to ignore social care, preferring to look the other way as a growing number of elderly people are getting no care at all.
Scrimping on social care is a huge false economy. Older people are often stranded in hospitals, unable to go home, using beds needed by other patients. This turns up the heat on our already overstretched NHS, which has also been forgotten about today.
And with the Brexit storm clouds gathering, the grim economic outlook can only spell more despair for public services.