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Vote Labour! The People v the Establishment

29th April 2017

Vote Labour! The People v the Establishment

Statement of the Labour Briefing Editorial Board

After repeatedly promising there will be no snap election, Theresa May has called one for June 8th. The pious vicar’s daughter has shown herself to be a squalid liar. As leader of the Tories that she called ‘the nasty party’, she is determined to remain Prime Minister of the nasty country. We don’t want Britain to be that country.

Economic policy since 2010 has been dominated by the policy of austerity. The false mantra is that the country can’t go on spending more than it earns. We’re in debt, the Tories say. So, savage cuts to social spending have been the order of the day.

Despite the crocodile tears May has shed about the plight of working class people, the cuts have continued and intensified on her watch.
Since 2010 there has been a blitzkrieg against welfare benefits which has caused even Iain Duncan Smith to protest. Further in April 2017:
• Child tax credits have been limited to two children. This will ‘save’ £1.2bn by 2020.
• The ‘family element’ of child tax credits worth £545 p.a. will be abolished, cutting a further £540m.
• Half a million disabled people will lose £30 a week in benefits. Another £350m cut.
• Young people under 22 will not be eligible for Housing Benefit, saving the Treasury £105m.
• Widows will be collectively £100m worse off.
And, don’t forget, working age people’s benefits will be frozen till 2020 while inflation eats away at their purchasing power.

All this was enacted in the first few days of April. May has no intention of reversing the thrust of Tory policy, which is to load the burden of austerity on the poor.
While the poorest are being mugged, how do the rich and big business fare?
• In 2008 Corporation Tax was 28%. It’ll be 19% this year and 17% by 2020.
• The threshold for Inheritance Tax is to be raised.
• The levy on banks, introduced after the 2008 financial crisis to reduce risky lending, will be cut.
All this will cost £20bn in lost revenue by 2022. The Tories have money to burn on rich people. Forget the propaganda about how ‘we’re all in this together’. The Tory fight for austerity is really about redistributing wealth towards their natural supporters – the rich and powerful.

Have they succeeded in cutting the national debt? No. In 2010 it was about £900bn. Now it stands above £1.5trn. The deficit is the amount by which spending exceeds revenue, so that the debt goes up. George Osborne pledged to get rid of it by 2015. He left office as a failure. Now his successor Philip Hammond admits the deficit will be around our necks till the 2020s. The austerity policy has failed. As Jeremy Corbyn says, austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity.

Theresa May claims she is calling the election, as the ‘Daily Mail’ puts it, to “Crush the Saboteurs”. There is no sabotage of the Brexit process. In fact the government is clueless as to what it will do in the negotiations. It is thereby heading for the hardest of hard Tory Brexits, where workers’ rights, the environment and consumer protection will be tossed aside in a race to the bottom.

May is anxious to cover up the fact that she is stumbling around in the dark by claiming dictatorial powers over negotiations unopposed for the next two years. She dare not face Parliamentary or democratic scrutiny. Don’t let her get away with it.

There is so much more that is wrong, wrong, wrong about a Tory Britain under Theresa May:
• She held hands with the warmonger Trump.
• As Home Secretary she sent vans round with the message, “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” in order to stir up racism.
• The SureStart programme and other Labour reforms have been progressively neutered.
• The latest Housing Act is intended to strangle the last vestiges of social housing provision.
• Real spending per pupil is declining in our schools while the government wastes hundreds of millions of pounds on building unwanted free schools.
• There are heartless deportations of people who have lived in Britain for decades as a foretaste of Tory Brexit Britain.
• The NHS is bleeding to death under her watch.
• The social care system is in meltdown.
• There is a regime of endless cuts, particularly for local councils which are supposed to provide parks, libraries, youth centres and all the other facilities people need.

The Tories boast about record employment in the UK. There are indeed record employment prospects - in insecure jobs which don’t pay enough to keep a family afloat. People are desperate. Productivity has stagnated in Britain since 2008. What future is there for us all under the Tories?

Most important of all, living standards for most will have fallen between 2008 and 2022. This has not happened before since the wars against Napoleon. This is the key fact behind the discontent in British society. According to the Resolution Foundation, “A typical family with children is set to have a lower disposable income (after housing costs) in 2020-21 (£18,300 in current prices), than a typical family this year (£18,900).”

Another five years of this would be hell for working people. a country where food banks have become a pathway to survival for so many and rough sleepers can be seen in every town.

We have to move heaven and earth to get a Labour government. It is clear that the Corbynist revolution is as yet unfinished business in formulating a programme for change.

All the same - what does Labour have to offer?
• A £10 a week minimum wage for all over 18.
• A ban on zero-hours contracts. A regular contract will be on offer after 12 weeks.
• End the public sector wage freeze.
• Renationalise the railways.
• Build 200,000 houses a year - half of which should be council-owned.
• Free school meals for all primary school pupils, to be paid for by putting VAT on private school fees.
• No further extension of grammar or free schools. For comprehensive education.
• The top rate of income tax on people over £150,000 should go back up to 50%, with a higher rate also proposed for those on over about £75-80,000.
• We will reverse the Inheritance Tax cuts, cuts in Corporation Tax and other taxes on the rich and big business, reclaiming £70bn.
• Carers’ allowance to go up by £10 a week.
• Scrap the bedroom tax.
• Stop the privatisation of the NHS, saving £5bn - put an end to the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) bloodsuckers and the outsourcing of health contracts to private firms like Virgin.
• Bring back bursaries for student nurses.
• Keep the winter fuel allowance and the triple lock on pensioner benefits.
• Stop the tax dodgers. No more sweetheart deals between HMRC, the tax people, and big business. Close the £36bn tax gap.
• Stop firms based in tax havens from bidding for public sector contracts.
• Fight a hard Tory Brexit intended to wipe out employment protection and turn Britain into a low-tax sweatshop.

Instead of permanent austerity Labour is pledged to invest in our infrastructure, creating one million quality jobs in the process. We will invest £500bn in high speed broadband, energy, transport and homes helping to create a high-skilled, high-tech, low carbon economy.

That’s a better Britain, one well worth campaigning and fighting for.


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