Responding to the emergency budget, Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths issued the following statement today (July 8):
Chancellor George Osborne’s skill would be better employed selling snake oil, magic beans or the world’s landmark bridges to gullible Americans,
He makes a fall in economic growth sound like success, projects a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ without a modernised railway network, peddles a ‘long term economic plan’ that exists only in his imagination and ends up fantasising about Britain being the world’s most prosperous society by the 2030s.
But he knows which class he comes from and whose interests he represents. The budget promises yet more tax cuts for the rich and big business and does nothing about tax havens under British jurisdiction or the crooks owning our energy utilities who have robbed householders and small businesses of £10bn since 2009.
At the same time, his £12bn cuts in social benefits will hit low income workers, parents, carers, social housing tenants, students and young people.
Renaming the national minimum wage and increasing it to £7.20 an hour next year will not make it a genuinely living wage, which would have to be more than £8 (and around £9.40 in London) and should include all workers.
Britain’s historically low levels of investment in productive industry, infrastrucure, R&D and new housing will not be changed without large scale public sector intervention and planning, funded by higher taxes on wealth, financial speculation and big business profits.
The Treasury’s reliance on short-term privatisation proceeds and the impact of further cuts and the public sector wage freeze on the economy mean further austerity measures in the future.
However, the breadth of the Chancellor’s attack also illustrates the potential to build a broad alliance around the People’s Assembly against austerity and privatisation, based on the trade union movement.
But it will be important for such a movement to put forward a clear alternative economic and financial strategy to that of the Tories and the current Labour Party leadership.