Skip to main content

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.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bad trade kills the planet.

One problem with the financial crisis of 2008/9 is that it focused attention on the banking system as if it could be separated from global economics.  It fostered the notion that all that was needed was to reform the banks and all would be well.  The underlying assumption was and is that global economics didn't and doesn't need fixing.  Everything works well but for the financial system.  Let's all keep calm and carry on.

Yet, the focus on a bad banking system hides an underlying economic malaise,  The economy depended on banks lending, and growth was predicated on debt, debt and more debt.  This was not simply a problem of the banking system.  It was, and remains a problem arising from the mythology of economic growth.

Politicians have long fostered the mythology of growth.  Growth became a  mantra.  Growth is good.  Good is growth.  Let's grow! Growth as and is presented as a miraculous cure.

Let's call this the first neoliberal myth.  The second neoliberal myth…

Hummingbird exposure to pesticides

Many have responded to the campaigns to stop the use of pesticides killing bees.  Bees are not the only animals affected.

Hummingbirds are noted as a species of conservation concern by Partners in Flight, and their populations are estimated to have declined by 60% between 1970 and 2014.



New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry.

To measure exposure to pesticides in these avian pollinators, investigators made novel use of cloacal fluid and fecal pellets from hummingbirds living near blueberry fields in British Columbia. They also collected bumble bees native to Canada, and their pollen, and blueberry leaves and flowers from within conventionally sprayed and organic blueberry farms.

The researchers detected pesticides and related compounds in cloacal fluid and fecal pellets of hummingbirds revealing…

Brexit won't save the planet

Brexit isn't an ideal. It might break the cosy economic and political illusion that all growth and trade is good. But there is little thinking behind it. It won't lead to better trade. It won't save our planet.



No plan for Brexit The UK is  now just months away from leaving the European Union, yet still the government has no plan for Brexit. Sector after sector of British society are registering their concerns about the consequences of a 'no deal' Brexit.  The country is in the dark about what the future might hold.  Key issues remain unresolved, yet it is as if it doesn't matter.   Brexit, remember, means Brexit!  
Whether we are for or against Brexit we should be concerned that the government can't agree on what kind of deal they want with our biggest trading partner - the European Union.  
There is no idealism behind Brexit, and no vision for the future.  Instead, there is a blind hope that it will be 'alright on the night'.  That somehow a…