Another lie told a million times: it is still a lie

 

In a previous post (Dispel the myth that Hartlepoolworkers are shirkers) the lie that the welfare state is massively abused by scroungers, skivers and shirkers was shown to be just that: a lie.This post
lays clear a second lie that the Tory Government have got away with for too
long: that austerity is necessary because of Labour’s poor management of the
economy in the period up to the 2010 election.

In 2010 the Conservatives and LibDem
coalition campaigned successfully by shouting, in almost panic mode, that
the country was in dire economic straits, the legacy of the profligate and
incompetent Labour Government.This lie held, despite the reality that the economic problems stemmed from a collapse in the banking system in 2008.  The bankers caused this through reckless and unregulated gambling. It is also true that the economy, in 2009 and early 2010, was recovering from recession by Labour's prudent use of monetary stimulus.

David Cameron and George Osbourne however did manage to persuade enough people that Labour were to blame, and that austerity and tough control of spending by the Government was the answer. New Labour did little to challenge this, as they believed in an austerity-life approach and that to challenge austerity would not be acceptable to the electorate. In 2010 the Tory led coalition took power.Since then the country has experienced extreme
Thatcherite Conservatism

with savage cuts to
public expenditure. Austerity, the Government proclaimed, was the only way forward, and would within five years lead
to a budget in surplus.Chancellor Osborne introduced massive cuts to welfare spending, spending on all central government departments and huge reductions in local government spending.

He also increased taxation that mostly affected the poorest (VAT) at the same time as giving tax reductions for the very
rich.

The Bank of England set low interest rates and huge sums of money were pumped into the banking system
through quantitative easing.

These measures would, Osbourne claimed, lead to growth
in the private sector of the economy, with more jobs and a brighter future for
all.

Has George, the austerity Chancellor achieved the economy that works for all? The answer, in short, is no.
Even
without the uncertainty created by Brexit the picture is of abject failure in
meeting his stated aims for the economy:

  •  Public sector debt runs at the highest level since
    World War II
  •  the promised budget surplus has not arrived
  •  Low interest rates
    have led to the high  levels of personal
    debt, up by 40% , now standing at £13250 per household - a surge of £4000 in just six months.
  •  Quantitative easing (£400 billion plus!) has been used by banks to
    lend     to property investors, fueling a house price rise.
  • Growth in employment is based on consumer consumption, funded by personal debt – and is seen as too fragile to withstand interest rate rises
  •  A big increase in people working as self employed, and
    even greater numbers in zero hours or part time work has led to financial insecurity for millions.
  • Wages have decreased on
    average 1% per year since the 2008 crisis, and the economy is now dubbed the low pay no pay economy. 
  • Productivity is at its lowest since World War II
 George Osbourne's economics have failed. His legacy is an economy too frail to withstand the uncertainty of Brexit. It may not withstand an increase in interest rates. This would hit many people hard as they strive to keep up repayment of their once cheap credit. Millions living with poverty wages   and job insecurity. This is his legacy, not a legacy of economic competence.
Underlying
this abject economic failure is a drastic human cost, made even worse as that cost is, in financial terms, much higher than any monetary savings achieved. Many of the cuts have led to families becoming homeless, requiring expensive and disrupting relocation. The crisis in social care is costing the NHS millions as people face long delays before  discharge. The cost of fit for work assessments cost more than they save.


The lasting cost of Osbourne's economic failure is that the safety net of
the welfare state has been destroyed
:
  •         The NHS is in crisis
  •         Social care is in crisis
  •         Disabled people are being
    left destitute
  •         Benefits to people out of
    work are subject to punishing conditionality, often leaving people destitute
    through bureaucratic delay and laggardly appeals process
  •         A worrying and increasing number of mentally ill people resort to suicide because of the stress caused
    by poor and wrong assessments
  •         Many sick and disabled people
    declared fit for work subsequently die  shortly afterward
  •         The bedroom tax takes
    money from people on housing benefit without smaller accommodation available being available, leaving many financially desperate
  •         The prison service is in
    crisis
  •         The benefit cap leaves
    many single parents without money to pay ever increasing rents, leaving them homeless and being accommodated with their children at greater cost to local
    authorities
  •         Implementation of the ill constructed Universal
    Credit is handled badly, leaving many people without benefits for weeks at a
    time, leading to starvation and unnecessary evictions for some
  •         Homelessness is on the
    rise
  •        Studies show 30000 people have died with the cuts to health service   being the major factor
  •         The housing market has
    failed to provide adequate supply of              affordable housing
  •         Education is heading for
    crisis as cuts begin to bite
  •    the police service is Government Inspectors tell us in crisis
  •    The end to housing
    benefit for the 18-21 population will leave many vulnerable young adults homeless
    and indeed like most of the cuts will cost more to deal with than it saves
The Government is simply not working
for the economy or 
for most people. 
This
Table shows the unequal impact of the cuts to welfare on local authority populations.
TOP 10
DISTRICTS
Loss
per working age adult £
BOTTOM
10 DISTRICTS
Loss
per working age adult £
Blackpool
720
South Oxfordshire
220
Westminster
680
Winchester
220
Knowsley
560
South Northamptonsh
220
Brent
550
Wokingham
210
Middlesbrough
550
Aberdeenshire
210
Hastings
540
Guildford
210
Barking & Dagenham
540
Hart
210
Torbay
530
Aberdeen
210
Enfield
530
Shetland
200
Hartlepool
520
Cambridge
190
(From Beatty and Fothergill, Sheffield Hallam University)
The
Authorities hit hardest are a mix of
northern urban and industrial towns, the major sites of de-industrialisation
and the highest concentrations of low income poverty, and areas where high rent
puts people over the benefit cap. The bottom ten are largely southern affluent
commuter suburbs and areas where employment is plentiful.
Hartlepool loses £520 per adult of working age, of
whom there are (18-64) 57 000. This means nearly £30 million pounds a year has been taken from the Hartlepool economy. Money taken because there are too few jobs, not because Hartlepool workers are idle, shiftless shirkers and skivers.
This loss of spending power obviously most affects those
individuals and their children losing it (far more than £520 each!).  It will also impact on those working in Hartlepool's shops and businesses where the money would have been spent.
Austerity is failing to save money. Public debt is at an all time high, with only a fragile low pay no pay economy to show for it.Austerity acts to punish, demoralise and stigmatise people, distracting them from seeking work. Instead they focus on complying with conditions attached to their
benefits to avoid sanctions that will leave them without money for food and rent. It of course does nothing to provide jobs for people. This is the
real problem: there are not enough jobs. By 2020 austerity will have given us ten wasted years, and delivered a wasteland. All based on a Tory lie.

What is going on in the country is clearly and obviously insane. The
Conservatives are fully aware that austerity will not lead to economic recovery. They also know that continued attacks on the
unemployed, disabled and sick are not only unjustified but cruel and nasty in intent. They also know punishing sanctions will not help people into employment when there are no jobs. They also know saying a person is fit for work despite obvious evidence to the contrary can have serious and life threatening consequences for that person.
Despite this they carry on. Their reason is to make public services appear inefficient and wasteful by starving them of resources. Their friends in the
private sector are gradually picking up the pieces and will, by providing less
effective services, make money from it. This is the real reason for austerity.
One might ask why, with such a nasty and incompetent government, are not all Labour politicians acting together every day to get across a unified and constant attack on what is happening.The answer is that most of the Labour Parliamentary Party, the people who should be decrying the insanity of what is going on, are instead “every day trying to undermine the leader of the party”.

We should all hope that the blinkered mentality and political stupidity of this approach will be acknowledged and ended.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here