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Political commentators are still busy picking through Sunak’s latest budget. The Tories like to use the expression ‘in the round’ as a way of spreading the savage impacts of their negligent and vindictive decisions more broadly over a greater area, to diminish the stark reality of the damage done. We need to protest this conflation of fact and fiction that negates all scrutiny. No, it’s not ‘in the round,’ rather it creates a triangle of torment by perpetuating inadequate benefit payments; lack of affordable housing and rampant unemployment. What isn’t ‘in the round’ for the Tory Party? …Letting this massive financial stimulus of Quantitive Easing (QE) effectively ‘circulate’ within the economy to benefit the entire population. They allow the Tory elite to siphon off obscene amounts of public funding. When money that’s intended to stimulate public spending and Corporate investment in a productive rotation back through the economy, instead dissipates and disappears into hoarded wealth in offshore Tax Havens, it stunts economic recovery!
Tory policies and incentives fail to promote investment as they are based on short-term exploitation opportunities directed towards the desperate, totally disempowered workforce. Austerity is like trying to extract blood from a stone as the Tories inhumane policies of cutting pay and benefits essentially sabotage QE by circumventing the circulation of money within the economy where the majority of people have a lot less money to spend. Wherever money is spent it creates the need for employment: if you cannot afford to get a haircut, the barber’s shop has less custom and requires less staff… This is why immigration is considered a “shot in the arm” for a local economy because the influx of people don’t just take jobs, the requirements of their daily life will create additional jobs. This is the very antithesis of the tabloid scare tactics stirred up by Nigel Farage on his hateful Brexit crusade to con the gullible into voting to leave the EU. The exodus of people from an area due to a major workplace closure has a knock-on effect on the local economy.
The severe disruption of Brexit, supply chain problems and red tape, will force certain businesses to close if they become no longer profitable. This would not have been so traumatic if we had remained in the European Single Market, but the devastating impact of the self-harm Boris Johnson and his corrupt Tory cabal foisted on the people of this country is less obvious due to the jolt caused by their shambolic handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Covid will also force businesses to close and the Tories will be quick to blame the damage of Brexit on the equally preventable catastrophic damage to our economy caused by Covid. While all countries have suffered economic harm during this pandemic, few other nations have mismanaged Covid so badly, experienced such a massive death toll, or will face such a correspondingly huge hit to their finances as the UK. But the grand Tory Budget announcement concerning Freeports will create even further disruption as many companies will relocate to take advantage of new tax incentives.
The PM is grossly manipulating our national broadcaster, the BBC, to pump out propaganda supporting a defunct ‘£300Bn dept’ myth in preparation for yet more foul Tory medicine with an impending austerity agenda. Once again they are forcing local Councils to inflict the first cuts. By convincing local authorities that they must do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop the spread of the virus promising this would all be funded by the Government: not! So debt has accumulated requiring Councils to cut services in forced compliance with the Tory agenda for smaller Government. Encouraging the people who need to self-isolate to seek access to a Council fund that the Tories have deliberately underfunded once again shifts the ‘bad guy’ burden onto local authorities as does the inevitable need to increase Council Tax. Meanwhile, after offloading this mayhem of indebtedness away from central Government the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship who created this perfect fiscal storm will ignore their responsibility with innocent cries of ‘not me Gov!’
In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “This budget shows ‘leveling up’ is just a slogan,” Prof Prem Sikka “shares his analysis of Sunak’s ‘salvation’ for our strickem nation, but, as with most Tory offerings, it wasn’t drafted for the many, but to protect the few. Prem Sikka, who is an Emeritus Professor of Accounting and a Labour member of the House of Lords, claims “The budget will plunge more people into poverty and foodbank queues. He warns that “The post-Covid economic recovery needs to be built upon an equitable distribution of income and wealth and new jobs, accompanied by a boost to the purchasing power of the masses to enable them to buy goods and services produced by businesses. This is the practical translation of the UK government’s slogan of ‘leveling-up’, but that is not what budget statement has delivered.” We urgently need to banish that phrase that I call the ‘lev..up’ lie or just ‘LUL’ from all public debate because giving it oxygen gives people the false impression it refers to reality.
Sikka highlighted a rare piece of “Good news is that the staff furlough scheme under which the government paid some of the wages of staff laid off during the pandemic will run until September 2021, but thereafter employers would need to pay more.” After months of wrangling over complaints of unfairness he reports that “Self-employed people will also get some help and the chancellor has said that 600,000 people previously excluded will get some financial support. However, there is no universal basic income or minimum base for support. The chancellor’s announcement does not take account of the specifics of industries. For example, the aviation industry is likely to struggle for some time but its employees have not been offered long-term assurances.”
Sikka explained how “The government is to create an Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12bn capital to investment in the country’s infrastructure. Well, the UK had a state bank to address infrastructure issues. It was called the Green Investment Bank and was sold-off by the government in 2017. Now it is being reinvented with a puny budget. It is worth recalling that Labour had promised a £500bn national investment bank to regenerate cities and town, renew infrastructure and invest in green jobs over the duration of a parliamentary term.” This follows a Tory pattern of destroying projects that work well and then being forced to rebuild them!
Sikka explains how “Since April 2021, stamp duty of house purchase of up to £500,000 has been suspended. This concession will continue until June after which the value of property qualifying for the concession would be reduced. The government has also announced a new mortgage guarantee scheme to enable homebuyers to secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit. 95% mortgages are likely to overheat the housing market and when interest rates increase many trapped in higher mortgages will face negative consequences. Notably, there is no equivalent taxpayer-funded support for people living in rented accommodation. Redistribution is missing from the budget. The government did not end wage freeze for public sector workers. There is no increase in statutory sick-pay of £95.85 per week. The £20 per week top-up of Universal Credit, which was introduced at the start of the pandemic, will be temporarily retained. This will help some 6.5 million families, but only until September.”
Sikka reports that “The main rate of corporation tax will increase from the present 19% to 25%, but not until 2023. This measure is expected to raise £17bn per year by 2025–26. The higher rate of corporation tax is sweetened by 130% allowance for amounts spent on selected investment. This and other sweeteners are expected to be worth £27bn over the next three years. There are tax rises by stealth on the way for households and these will hit the poor hardest. The tax-free annual personal allowance will increase by £70 to £12,570 from April 2021, and will then remain unchanged until April 2026. The current threshold for paying the 40% marginal rate of income tax is £50,001. It will rise to £50,270 from April and will then remain unchanged until 2026. The net effect is that 1 in 10 adults will pay higher-rate income tax and the poorest will end up paying a higher proportion of their income in tax. This measure alone will remove around £19bn over the next four years from household budgets.”
More worrying, Sikka says “Many households will also face a council tax rise of around 5% as the government has refused to fund social care from general tax. In addition, household budgets will be further depleted by an increase in the cost of gas, electricity, food and other essential. VAT was cut to 5% for tourism, hospitality and accommodation businesses. This concession will come to an end in September, followed by a 12.5% rate until March 2022 and a return to 20% from the following April. Altogether, there is little relief for household budgets and the planned increase of 19p per hour in the rate of minimum wage will do little to help the less well-off. The small print of the budget shows that there will be cuts in public services. The budget for NHS England will be slashed from £147.7m for 2020-21 to £139.1m in 2021-22 even though there is a huge backlog of operations and urgent treatments.”
What is deeply concerning is that, as Sikka points out “The Institute of Fiscal studies says that the government is planning to spend £14bn to £17bn less on public services each year after 2021 than planned pre-Covid. Each cut will be paid for by loss of jobs, wages and degradation of public services. No doubt, in due course the mantra of ‘we can’t afford it’ will be followed by more privatizations of public services. The government’s economic strategy assumes that people will borrow and spend their savings to boost the economic recovery. Levelling-up is just a slogan and the budget will plunge more people into poverty and foodbank queues. Finally, while the shadow of Brexit looms large on the UK economy, the chancellor said nothing about it.”
In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Economists blast Sunak’s spending plans, warning proposals ‘do not look deliverable” they reveal how “Economists lambasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending plans today, warning that proposals to address Britain’s battered public finances ‘do not look deliverable’.” They say, “The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the biggest tax-raising Budget for 28 years has made the Chancellor look less like ‘Santa Sunak’ and ‘more like Scrooge Sunak.’ Mr Sunak is largely funding a mammoth £50 billion squeezes by freezing income tax allowances and hiking corporation tax in ‘screeching U-turns on Conservative policy,’ the economic think tank said in it’s damning analysis of Wednesday’s Budget. It said the corporation tax increase from 19 percent to 25 percent by 2023 was a ‘gamble’ but would not have a bad effect on much-needed business investment.”
The Morning Star reported that “The IFS said Mr Sunak had been ‘silent’ on long-term recovery plans to address the future consequences of the pandemic. IFS director Paul Johnson said: ‘This was, of course, a tale of two Budgets’. ‘By the end of the forecast period we are looking at a fiscal tightening of over £30bn relative to previous plans. ‘Take account of the cuts to planned spending announced in the autumn and Santa Sunak, purveyor of billions, today looks more like Scrooge Sunak, cutting spending and raising taxes to the tune of nearly £50bn relative to his pre-pandemic plans of March 2020.’ He said the Chancellor’s spending plans look ‘implausibly low’ and questioned whether it was realistic to assume spending on the NHS from next year will not be more than before the crisis. He warned that Mr Sunak was unlikely to meet his goals, ‘at least not without considerable pain.’ ‘How he is actually going to fix the public finances remains to be seen,’ Mr Johnson said.”
Even if one seriously believed the false promises of pathological liar Boris Johnson when he boasted of building 40 new Hospitals, that then magically became 48 as announced in Parliament, where is the funding coming from? Due to the devotion of our BBC and compliantly unquestioning Media the PM has never been quizzed on this point. But even if Boris had a secret benefactor lined up to cover the cost of the build and equip the facilities where would he find the staff when the NHS is desperately short of staff? The Morning Star note that “The IFS said freezing the income tax threshold would raise around £9bn, while the corporation tax changes could see revenues rise by more than £17bn by 2025. If spending plans and tax hikes go as planned, the government will be able to balance the books by 2025, according to the IFS. ‘The sad truth is that that would be a balance built on the highest sustained tax burden in British history and yet further cuts in unprotected public service spending,’ Mr Johnson added.”
It is distressing that while John McDonnell meticulously costed every proposal in both the 2017 and the 2019 progressive Labour manifestos and was grilled on the spend; there was zero scrutiny regarding Boris Johnson’s most ambitious pledges, or any of his pledges for that matter. I fear the 40/48 new Hospitals are a projection of inward investment from giant US Healthcare Corporations once they have the opportunity to fully privitize our NHS; the Tories will use the ‘Scavenge, Exploit, Deport’ model to staff them. I’m astounded so few respected political commentators are prepared to publically debunk the £300Bn debt lie. I was encouraged to see economist and Chief Executive at the New Economics Foundation, Miatta Fahnbulleh, as a guest on Question Time trying to explain where the money is being ‘borrowed’ from, basically, the Bank of England borrowing money fro itself. She was supported by entrepreneur TV ‘Dragon’ Theo Paphitis who assured us that these ‘bonds’ aren’t vulnerable to an interest rate hike.
Unless we stop people drinking the ‘KoolAid’ deception of a huge debt that inhibits all spending and the rediculous analogies with household budgets we are in danger of returning to public acceptance of austerity as a crisis necessity and we return to another cycle of intense impoverishment. I honestly think that the key to understanding both the source and the function of QE is by driving home the statement that the Bank of England has printed £300Bn of QE stimulus funding to inject into circulation in our economy for pay and investment. Reducing rates of pay, cutting benefit entitlements and eliminating services under austerity measures with the claim of saving money to repay the debt, seriously inhibits the intended circulation of money within the economy and will cripple our recovery. The model that conclusively proves the viability of this reality is the huge state investment in infrastructure, building of council homes and forming our NHS after WWII when we were massively in debt: we must build our way out of this recession too.
Councils cannot create money so they must balance the local budget; this will force cuts to services and severe hardship on local populations all over the country. This damage can be manipulated by the Government to increase or decrease the burden in ways that serve their political agenda by channeling funding to Tory-run Councils or Tory constituencies just as they are doing right now with the ‘Towns Fund.’ Sunak announced a new pot of cash to be awarded for the regeneration of local high streets and we can fully expect that Tory Ministers will redirect that funding through the exact same corrupt means. There will be no scrutiny unless we demand it with our loud protestations and robust legal challenges. The Covert 2019 Rigged Election set a precedent in terms of the level of industrial-scale fraud the Tories could get away with without generating suspicion or demands for a full Investigation of the obscenely unfathomable fake ‘landslide Tory victory,’ but it is still not too late to insist on full accountability and get the Tories out!
Pathological liar Boris Johnson could never have sold his hapless campaign as the winning ticket without the relentless propaganda extensively promoted by the BBC in direct violation of their impartiality mandate. Yes, people complained loudly about the BBC bias, but with Boris’s chum at the top just ignoring any obligation to the public to serve his Tory master all was sorted. The equally relentless defamation of Jeremy Corbyn was also bought and paid for by the Tories using public funds allocated to a fake Charity, the Institute for Statecraft’s inappropriately named ‘Integrity Initiative.’ This clear-cut scandal case of Tory Government corruption has been fully exposed with the evidence verified and no legitimate reason that very serious charges of corruption could see them removed from office. In a properly functioning democracy this would be more than enough damning evidence to end the political careers of a number of key members of the Tory Party including Boris Johnson.
In Iceland some years ago charges of corruption took down a Government, now Nicolas Sarkozy has been tried and convicted in France although the sentence he received was ridiculously lenient. Benjamin Netanyahu clings to power in Israel to stave off facing justice on the corruption charges he is facing. Donald Trump might have evaded impeachment in the US, but he will be hounded by multiple corruption charges for years to come. It seems that if corruption is your crime of choice the profession for you is politics! When political criminals keep getting away with blatant corruption unchallenged they are emboldened by their success and they become complacent about risk thinking that they are invincible and beyond the law. The Tories are busy installing their compliant stooges in commanding positions that will allow them to perpetually evade scrutiny, but at the same time they are making significant mistakes and our efforts to crowdfund justice has permitted opportunities to challenge them in Court.
The sanction offered by Judicial Review was identified for targeting in the Tory manifesto and it will soon come under attack. If the Tories are able to change the law might enable them to appoint compliant right-wing Judges to further support their pursuit of corrupt practices. There is nothing to stop the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from accomplishing this goal as brief window of legal opportunity is about to slam shut. There is no time to waste if we want to derail this juggernaut of oppressive authoritarian disaster and ongoing corruption. This lawless and fraudulent standard of corrupt governance seriously needs to change both here and in a number of fascist regimes overseas. We have a growing body of evidence to support a strong case against Tory rule with a perfect opportunity here in the UK to set a groundbreaking example of scrutiny, accountability and justice by forcing the changes that remove our Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to install a fully functioning democracy that other countries will want to emulate. DO NOT MOVE ON!