(Photo source: The Guardian)
After my commentary on the Guardian last Wednesday, I expanded my ideas about the Autumn Statement in a piece published on the Huffington Post. Read the original here.
This Was Not a Budget Statement, it Was a Defeatist Political Capitulation to Despair
Two million unemployed and one million under-employed people; a construction industry mired in deepening slump; green energy suppliers ignored; retailers with few customers coming through the door – all these listened to a British Chancellor carefully today, and heard only one thing.
There is no hope. Nothing can be done. The slump is ‘permanent’. The only ‘cure’ is to hurt the poor, and deepen the crisis.
The Chancellor, backed by the vast majority of the British political and economic establishment, has capitulated to the bankers and to depression. He, the Treasury and the OBR have nothing to offer the British people but defeatism.
Labour is trapped and foolishly focusses on the deficit and debt – just as Mr Osborne wants them to frame it – instead of focussing on the nation’s vast crater of economic inactivity.
Corporate tax receipts fell precipitously in October not because the tax is too high, but because economic activity is too low. And this is wrongly presented to the nation as inevitable, as a ‘permanent’ loss.
Not true. There is massive spare capacity. Ask the 3 million un- or under-employed. Ask the construction industry. Ask the engineering sector. Ask the alternative energy sector.
The Treasury’s deliberate policy is not to utilise it.
Instead yet another £70bn of bank bailout costs are added to the burden to be carried by today’s and future British taxpayers.
Instead of making Starbucks, Amazon etc., pay more, the Chancellor cut corporation tax – to increase competition with other countries, and hasten a ‘global race’ to the bottom.
Instead of making London’s super-rich pay more in ‘mansion taxes’ the Chancellor chooses to cut benefits to the very poor.
This was not a budget statement. It was a cruel and defeatist political capitulation to despair.