Debunking the Austerity Myth

Far from ‘drowning in debt’ government debt in 2010 was a much smaller proportion of total income than when we created the NHS and introduced the welfare state. For government not to  borrow at low and fixed rates of interest, which government can do, to create much needed infrastructure, including council housing, is the height of stupidity. Cutting government expenditure directly cuts incomes of both public sector employees and businesses which supply the public sector, and has indirect effects on the businesses who sell goods to all these people. Unless private spending rises to offset this, which deficit reduction makes extremely difficult, we are all poorer, as we experienced from 2010 to 2012 before Osborne decided not to stick to his deficit reduction plans, which had inevitably gone off course.    

Charlotte Church is absolutely right to say that she would pay more tax to stop spending cuts because austerity is really all about reducing the size of the state by  privatising health and social care services at an inflated cost to middle income taxpayers in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires and tax havens for the profits from this privatisation. This wanton destruction  of local government’s democratic control of public services is not about saving money to cut the deficit it is all about  further weakening the bargaining power of organized labour to fight for a living wage  by handing over our state to the  City financiers  who  fund the Tory party, and who were the real culprits in the crash of 2008.   Austerity cuts not only repeat all the mistakes of the 1930s they are driving us back there in terms of inequality so that we cannot prosper and make progress together  as a united kingdom. Any further cuts  will not only cause serious unrest but may well cost us the Union.

Ed Miliband’s failure to debunk the myth that Labour spending caused the financial  crash not only cost him the election but will cost us all dear as we now lose a whole decade of  the growth in productivity  needed to cut our balance of payments deficit while the Tories tear themselves apart over Europe instead of uniting us to deal with the refugee crisis caused by their disastrous foreign policy.    

Tory Manifesto Fraud

The Tory manifesto lays bare their fraudulent misleading of the British people into believing that austerity cuts were necessary because the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, like Greece.  Now Cameron admits that there are billions to spare  for his cronies to further enrich themselves with more cherry-picking of NHS contracts; and 
for offering a blatant election bribe in selling off housing association homes at a discount, which may prove to be illegal, and will certainly make it more difficult for struggling young families to afford a decent home at a reasonable rent, while, at the same time, he refuses to say where the axe will fall on the billions he will cut from welfare.

If he remains in office he will complete the fire sale of our public realm, the UK will break up, and he will end up governing an even smaller state than he  and his Chancellor intended.

We are already  ninety billion pounds poorer,  the same amount as the deficit, due to lost growth as a result of their self-defeating austerity, which has seen  our balance of payments defict rise as productivity continues to plummet, giving a different perspective on the Tory claim that we are the fastest growing major advanced economy. The reality  is  the slowest recovery in modern history, based on starvation wages and rising personal debt, which shows that Osborne’s claim to have a long term economic plan is the most fraudulent fabrication of  spin since the Emperor’s New Clothes, and just as transparently unable to hide the naked truth that he makes it up as he goes along.

Tory Manifesto

The Tory manifesto lays bare their fraudulent misleading of the British people into believing that austerity cuts were necessary because the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, like Greece.  Now Cameron admits that there are billions to spare  for his cronies to further enrich themselves with more cherry-picking of NHS contracts; and 
for offering a blatant election bribe in selling off housing association homes at a discount, which may prove to be illegal, and will certainly make it more difficult for struggling young families to afford a decent home at a reasonable rent, while, at the same time, he refuses to say where the axe will fall on the billions he will cut from welfare.

If he remains in office he will complete the fire sale of our public realm, the UK will break up, and he will end up governing an even smaller state than he  and his Chancellor intended.

We are already  ninety billion pounds poorer,  the same amount as the deficit, due to lost growth as a result of their self-defeating austerity, which has seen  our balance of payments defict rise as productivity continues to plummet, giving a different perspective on the Tory claim that we are the fastest growing major advanced economy. The reality  is  the slowest recovery in modern history, based on starvation wages and rising personal debt, which shows that Osborne’s claim to have a long term economic plan is the most fraudulent fabrication of  spin since the Emperor’s New Clothes, and just as transparently unable to hide the naked truth that he makes it up as he goes along.

Cameron says further cuts will not damage public services in Wales

When Cameron says further cuts will not damage public services in Wales he clearly never has to catch a bus or he would notice that cuts to local government have already forced councils to cut bus services, which will make for worse traffic jams and even less safety for children walking to school; and has no-one pointed out to him that the Welsh Assembly has already been forced to axe technical  education, vital for improving our skills base, in order to protect school budgets that will also be cut if he remains in office.

Privatisation of NHS England is well under way and is having a knock-on effect in Wales where our health services are becoming unsustainable due to the pressures on social care; and the bedroom tax is wrecking communities that survived the miners’ strike. Continuation of his ‘long term economic plan’ will mean the end of the NHS, resulting in  the same wasteful and expensive model of health care as in the USA.

Is he going to offer a referendum on the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Protocol, or just sign away our democracy?

Company bosses interfere in democratic process

The backing of over 100 business bosses for the Tory Chancellor’s bungling of economic recovery is a timely warning that these companies are so far out of democratic control that they are positively bad for business because we cannot achieve lasting prosperity under a system that allows companies unquestioned freedom and unfettered prospects for enrichment at the cost of the living standards of their workforce. This election is a chance to send a clear warning to our politicians that there is a price to pay for being so in hock to corporate interest that we have become one of the most unequal of the world’s richest countries.
The balance could be redressed by boosting workers’ representation in corporate decision making, as in Germany,and shifting incentives for directors from short-term returns to longer term investment, including education and training; but none of this will happen if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Protocol takes the power to make decisions away from our elected representatives and outside any court system, including the High Court of Parliament. TTIP will mean the end of the NHS through the fragmentation of health services that has already begun as a fundamental part of Cameron and Osborne’s real agenda of making the UK as much like the American model of capitalism as possible without any welfare state safety net, using the pretext of the deficit to convince us that we are broke.
When Cameron couldn’t win an election last time because the economy was already recovering from the financial collapse, caused by Big Business out of control, he accused Gordon Brown of squatting in Downing Street, but now he makes clear that in the event of a hung parliament he intends to be the squatter in Downing Street, having been the first Prime Minisiter in British History to use his offical residence to attack his political opponent after the dissolution of Parliament.

Small Businesses for a Big Economy

The Witham constituency is well placed to lead the way to economic recovery through its many thriving businesses – for example at Tiptree and at Marks Tey and an increasing number of specialist shops in Witham town and in Coggeshall.

It is through small businesses that Britain (and Witham) can build a sound economy based on fairness and equality.

We in the Liberal Democrats recognise the importance of small businesses – that they are the engines of solid, reliable wealth creation – and this is why we have policies designed to encourage and foster their growth.

Our policies specifically for small businesses include:

  • Creating new ways to access financing – for example, Local Enterprise Funds will help people invest in local business in their area, and Regional Stock Exchanges will allow small businesses an alternative route to investment.
  • Cutting un-necessary regulations to remove the burdens of red tape.
  • Reform Business Rates so that all small businesses get the relief they are entitled to.
  • Fairer access to public sector procurement providing a level playing field for SMEs by using standardised procurement requests.
  • Protect diverse local high streets by providing direct help to the high street by making Small Business Rate Relief automatic and providing rate relief to independent small shops.

These are just some of the ways we are committed to “Encourage enterprise in a fair society”.

You can find out more about our policies for business at http://www.libdems.org.uk/

Celebrate immigration’s positives

Immigration is always a controversial issue, often leading to the exchange of strongly held opinions without reference to real analysis.

For example, Polish immigrants pay more in taxes than they claim in benefits and they do work that Britons are unwilling, or unable, to do.

As the Centre for Economic Performance demonstrates in its “Election Analysis – Immigration and the UK Labour Market: The Evidence from Economic Research” paper (PDF, 76K)  migration is:

  • Useful for filling gaps in the UK labour market
  • Fears are exaggerated over the consequences of rising immigration
  • Evidence of much displacement of UK workers or lower wages is difficult to find

Now, just as in the past, people coming to this country as immigrants bring with them a wealth of experience and skills.  We need to celebrate the positive aspects of immigration rather than constantly replaying only the negatives.