Letter: Mike Larcey November 10, 2017

A shovel resting against a tree in a garden.
A shovel resting against a tree in a garden.
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What has the Chancellor of the Exchequer got to boast about in the coming Autumn Budget? I suppose he can claim that unemployment statistics have declined.

However, these statistics are Tory statistics. To work on a saying attributed by Mark Twain to Benjamin Disraeli, ‘lies, damn lies, statistics and Tory statistics!’ As Larry Elliot, in The Guardian on November 2, has pointed out there is hidden significant unrecorded unemployment and most of the uptake is of lowest paid jobs. So, those figures discounted, what has the past seven years of austerity imposed on the many but not the few?

Well, because of rising personal debt, Mark Carney is called upon to raise interest rates, suggested rise from 0.25% to 2%, and this will bankrupt many families. Families are struggling to meet the current cost of living now with wages falling behind inflation. Of course, they can always rely on Universal Credit, which will increase their reliance on debt, sharks and food banks. Cost of living will rise again due to Brexit due to the falling value of sterling. So, what will families face after Brexit? Complete melt down of society? They say that when you are in a hole, stop digging. Will someone take the spades off the Tories? Of all the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, the UK has the lowest rate of growth with growth sluggish. Sales in most sectors are declining. The Institute for Fiscal Studies is pointing to a £20 billion deficit in public finances. Trade deficit is increasing. The Tory government response to this is to hit the ‘many not the few’ the hardest by cutting public spending and by selling off what is left to global corporations. There are solutions. Firstly, hand over governance of the UK to Labour who will reverse austerity, reverse the cuts in public spending, finance the NHS properly by stopping the inefficient and costly outsourcing of NHS and Local Authority services, increase affordable house building, control rents and dismantle the undemocratic Tory Trade Union Acts of 1984, 1992, 2016. Labour’s strategy would be twofold – borrow to invest and increase taxation especially for ‘the few’.

One policy I personally think Labour should introduce is that similar to the Finland experiment whereby everyone is entitled to a universal basic income. In Finland it works out at about £500 per person per month. This initiative is still in the experimental stage. The truth is that such an amount is basic but knowing that it is regular then recipients know also that they do not have to endure the humiliation of pleading for money to keep alive before a bureaucracy that is hamstrung by Tory heartless legislation. It will provide a foundation for people to seek a meaningful occupation.