Thursday, 19 March 2015

Chancellor cut the price of beer whilst the NHS is in crisis.

I suppose I should comment on the budget. It is to say the least a curious budget for a Chancellor who has spent five years telling us we must cut the deficit. He now tells us that he has £6 billion to spare. Fantastic! Or should I say 'hey we have an election'.  So what has he chosen to? He cut duty on beer. Now that is really what we needed.  It is the little things that say a lot about this government's priorities.  Was this a budget for the poorest? No.  Was it a budget to help the NHS or to help pay for social care? No.  it was an election budget.

 The NHS is facing a crisis and the Chancellor prioritises the price of beer.  It is a very odd priority. He chose to do very little that would help the poorest.  This point was made by a woman interviewed in the street on BBC news.  It is all very well helping people save, she said, but it only helps those who have money to save.  And there you have it. It is a budget directed at those in marginal constituencies whose vote might make a difference in he general election.

What we know is that if the Tory party wins that election we are in for a continued period of cuts. The Tories are bent on doing what they think they have failed to do in the coalition: 'roll back the state'.  The Conservatives came into office saying they would protect the NHS, make people better off and balance the books, yet given the opportunity he cuts the price of beer.

Th tax and benefit changes since 2010 have left families on average £1,127 a year worse off. Yet, his priority is the price of beer.  The Chancellor now says he wants to go far beyond balancing the books: he has a target of a £23 billion budget surplus in 2019/20 and £10 billion of unfunded tax promises. And yet, the NHS is in a funding crisis.

It is no secret that the Tories are now planning even deeper spending cuts in the next four years than during the past five.  This will hit the poorest the most.  Those who have already been hit by five years of austerity.  Now we are told that the pain must continue to 'balance the books', and yet he gives away £10 billion in unfunded tax promises.



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