The Chancellor’s Autumn statement clearly demonstrated that the Tories can only offer more misery and despair for Britain. It was a perfect opportunity to ditch the failed ideological policy of austerity. But the Chancellor reaffirmed that the Tories are the party of austerity, despite the Prime Ministers supposed concern about those who are just about managing.
The economic outlook was full of doom and gloom, based on the belief that tax receipts will fall, inflation will rise, wages will stagnate and growth will decline. Working people have still not seen any rise in real pay. It is predicted that average earnings at the end of this decade will, after inflation, still be below their level before the recession of 2008. All this designed to frighten us into submission and accept the inevitable. Workers need to take up the challenge and fight for their wages against these attacks.
The key to Britain’s current economic situation is not austerity but investment for growth. Key industries such as nuclear, defence and energy are struggling from a lack of skilled workers. Research and development and science and technology require additional funding and future funding guarantees. None of this was present in the autumn statement to a level that will have a significant impact on the prosperity or productivity of the economy.
However the Tories can find £240m for grammar schools and £7.6m to restore a crumbling country house, whilst ignoring calls for social care and NHS funding.
It is obvious that the political parties have been shaken by the huge Leave vote, and this was reflected in all the talk about the so-called Jams, and some small concessions. However, the underlying push is still for austerity and to combat this we will need to set out and demand our own agenda for a post-EU Britain.
Hammond made a joke about this being his last autumn statement, but it will be no laughing matter for the people of Britain while the Tories remain in power.