28 Jun 2010

Letter to press re Budget

Some may have read my initial budget comments to press here and comments here to Cameron's spending cuts. I can only see this budget increasing tensions within the ConDem alliance.

I have deep concerns about whether many of the cuts are really about the deficit - the so-called 'Shock Doctrine' has been a tool of Conservative and Neo-Liberal Governments around the world where disasters are used as an excuse to push through radical right wing policies. In Britain, over the last 18 months, the Conservative Party has used the recession as an excuse to build a case for massive cuts to public services.

Photo taken from: www.noshockdoctrine.org.uk

The new British Government has now announced massive and un-needed cuts to our public services. Britain has massive assets, long term debts, and very low taxes. There is no need to destroy the public services it has taken 100 years to build up in this country, and on which the majority of us depend. Let's also not forget the richest 1000 people have seen their wealth increase by 30% in a year – half the value of the deficit!!

Well here is my letter sent yesterday to Gloucestershire press:

The economy is in a mess, but the budget was unnecessarily grim. Lots of pain and no gain. Public services will be slashed. VAT will be hiked. Benefits are facing big cuts - but Corporation Tax is cut to the lowest level.

The evidence is that the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities will be hit hardest, yet this crisis was caused by the finance sector. We are not all in this together: some had more responsibility for this crisis than others, and some benefited more from the boom that preceded it.

Professor Danny Blanchflower, a former member of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, says this budget could set us on a course for double-dip recession and rocketing joblessness. Increasing unemployment will particularly hit young people. Already almost a million are struggling to find work. It is likely that the tax received will actually decline and the deficit could very well get worse.

Cuts are not an economic inevitability. They are an ideological choice. We should be asking those best able to pay, to foot the bill through fairer taxation. The UK is currently one of the most unequal societies in Europe.

Greens have released a new report showing how cuts can be avoided. For example tax avoidance - that’s deliberately breaking the law to not pay tax - is estimated to be as high as a staggering £100bn a year! Instead of the tax office cutting 20,000 workers this should be reversed to tackle this abuse.

We are also missing an opportunity for a Green New Deal – a major investment package to rapidly modernise the UK economy for a low-carbon future, while seeing off the recession through large-scale job-creation. The calls for fair taxes, not cuts, can only increase.

Cllr Philip Booth,
Stroud District councillor for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe ward

Meanwhile G20 is getting going. See initial Green comments here:

European Green Party on G20 -

UK Green MEP's on G20 and coal subsidy -

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