On Wednesday, Philip Hammond delivered his first budget since the 2017 election – and there wasn’t much good economic news. Growth forecasts for the UK economy are down dramatically, and we can expect falling living standards well into the next decade. That’s in contrast to the rest of Europe and most of the developed world.
Brexit is making ordinary people’s lives worse- and it is coming on top of a policy of austerity that has attacked our welfare state and made us poorer. Since the economic crisis, median earnings in Britain have fallen by well over 10% – that’s a drop second only to Greece in the developed world.
But there is an even bigger thing we should point out in yesterday’s budget. The Chancellor has announced that £3bn will now be laid aside to cover the costs of Brexit, with more to come, while the NHS is getting less than half of what is needed, according to the boss of NHS England.
So when Boris Johnson voted for the budget, he effectively admitted that he had been lying all along. Having stood next to a bus proclaiming an extra £350m a week for the NHS if we left the EU, pro-Leave Tories have now approved a budget which sucks money away from the NHS to pay for Brexit.
We face a grim political and economic reality: a governing elite that is dishonest and out of touch, and a crisis of living standards for the majority of the population.Without loud, unapologetic progressive voices fighting for a radical change in how society is run, and for the rights of migrants, this situation is a recipe for even more rightwing drift in politics. The political elite will continue to blame migrants for their own failings – and those failings are more acute than ever.
We must present an alternative.
23rd November 2017