A damp squib is too generous a verdict on the Budget. No pay rises this year or next for over a million health workers plus teachers, prison officers and soldiers, despite inflation running at 4.4 per cent.
Of course, there is always money to bomb foreign countries for oil and empire. That’s because this pay freeze is not about ‘responsibility’ or ‘balancing the budget’ or any other clichés ministers and their satraps trot out.
It’s about waging war on our public services and the people who run them, then putting the services out to private tender.
This is not a government interested in discussing conditions for growth: its political ideology rises above economic consequences. So it’s cuts and more cuts, a headlong dash to slash.
The so-called budget for growth is the opposite – a budget for decay. Contrary to Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock’s assertion (The News, March 22), Labour was spending for growth, with the future jobs fund, the building schools scheme, and more.
True, it had to borrow over the odds to prevent a catastrophic bank failure. But the economy was heading in the right direction, growing at 1.2 per cent when Labour left office.
In the final quarter of last year the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent with no immediate sign of improvement – and that’s before the cuts hit jobs and pockets.
This government’s public borrowing has now hit its highest February level since modern records began in 1993. The government is strangling the economy with its cuts.
Nothing will stop hundreds of thousands more people losing their jobs this year with all the terrible consequences for families and homes.
Fewer college and university places mean another torrent of young people leaving school this summer with nowhere to go and no hope of work.
Oh, and by the way, in case you want a highly-paid sinecure, the bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland has revealed that 231 ‘key’ employees get an average of £1.1m, while Rich Ricci of Barclays pockets a mind-blowing £44m. You couldn’t make it up!