Jeremy Hunt is good on rhetoric but poor on reality. Today’s budget announcement continues the bleak and unsurprising story of a government that is not serious about supporting the ordinary people of this country. We are facing an estimated reduction in GDP of one hundred billion pounds or a loss to the treasury of approximately forty billion. The problems are caused by Brexit, according to research by the Financial Times, despite the Chancellor blaming inflation on global factors today. And what of Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget? This has cost an estimated loss to the economy of thirty billion pounds. It seems we are all paying for the mistakes of the current government, whilst many of the Conservative politicians continue to enjoy their champagne and non-dom status.
Meanwhile, research by End Fuel Poverty Coalition predicts that 11 million are estimated to be in fuel poverty by next year. The contrast between the haves and the have-nots has never been bigger or starker. Are we governed by a political party for the few or for the many? I think we all know the answer, don’t we?
Inflation at a 41 year high
Inflation is officially at 11.1% but food inflation is running at 14.7%. The Trussell Trust has revealed that more than 1.3 million emergency food parcels were delivered across the UK to those facing hardship between April 1 and September 30, 2022 – an increase of more than 50% compared to the same period in 2019. In London alone, there were 163,524 emergency food parcels delivered in that period – more than any other region of the UK. For all those supported by the Trussell Trust and other food banks and charities across the nation the actual inflation rate is meaningless. These are desperate people who have to rely on a handout just to survive, despite the UK being the fifth richest nation in the world. Whatever the inflation rates they, just don’t have the money to afford to live.
Being rich and in charge
I agree with Angela Rayner, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party when she says that she will not criticise the fact that Rishi Sunak is number 222 on the Sunday Times rich list and his family wealth exceeds that of the late queen. However, we must all recognise that with great wealth comes even greater responsibility. His privileged background is mirrored across the Tory cabinet with virtually all ministers having gone to private school and having huge independent wealth.
It may not be the issue but when it comes to making decisions that impact the lives of tens of millions it matters. Have any Tory ministers experienced unemployment, lived from hand to mouth or had to rely on handouts? The Truss mini-budget was backed and endorsed by the entire cabinet, many of whom feature in the new Sunak cabinet. It was a monumental disaster for the UK economy and the poorest in the country will as a result of this budget have to pay more. It has cost many who were close to buying a house or a flat to lose their dream new home. Now every one of us is paying for this error in higher taxes and austerity across the nation as announced today. Are there any real consequences for those who made these monumental errors of judgement?
The nation voted for Brexit expecting the UK to be better off outside of the EU. The disastrous outcome that is impacting the economy now shows the lies of the Leave campaign. “Taking back control” has meant we are economically poorer as well as affecting how we do business across the EU. We can still travel around the EU of course but at every border we must show a passport, our musicians cannot travel freely around and there are time restrictions on how long people can stay in an EU country. Animals need their own passports, exports to the EU are down 16% and tens of thousands of small businesses right across the UK have either stopped trading with the EU or moved parts of their businesses to the EU to facilitate trade.
Where are the workers?
We are short hundreds of thousands of workers from construction and we have an estimated 165,000 shortfall in the care sectors. Labour shortages across so many business sectors are driving up costs and inflation and have delayed the completion of big infrastructure projects. What can we do to ease these skills shortages? The government says training and persuading those on sick leave, retired or unemployed into these jobs. The sad reality is this is simply nonsense. We need skilled productive workers and we need them now. Rejoining the EU and allowing freedom of movement could kick start the exceptionally low levels of growth in the UK. Recent statistics from the OECD tell us the UK is lagging at number 38 out of 38 in a league table of growth
Today’s budget announcements are a disaster for the entire nation. There will be massive austerity, cuts to public services and many more will fall into absolute poverty. The outlook is dire and it’s getting worse. Our vital public services will suffer more cuts and council taxes will face a substantial increases next year.
Is there anything positive that we can do? The short answer is yes. We need a General Election now.
The next action is down to you!