The Tory budget means we’re all going to be much poorer for much longer

By , 27/11/17

Sorry if I’m the one bearing the bad news, but the truth is, we are all going to be much poorer for much longer than anybody thought possible.

 

We are all facing another 20 years of economic and wage stagnation.

 

In fact, the UK is in for the longest fall in living standards for more than 60 years.

 

Philip Hammond's Tory budget last week was so complacent, it was shocking. It didn’t even scratch at the surface of all the problems facing the UK economy.

 

It was almost like the Tories think austerity is all going well – Universal Credit just needs a bit of ‘fixing’ at the edges and Brexit is all going to be fine, ‘Nothing to see here, just move along.’

 

Research from think tanks including the Resolution Foundation and the Institute of Fiscal Studies showed the Chancellor’s changes to tax and benefit policies will push down living standards and increase inequality.

 

According to the number crunching, the poorest third of households are set for an average loss of £715 a year by the end of this Westminster Parliament in 2022, while the richest third gain an average of £185.

 

For the UK to be slashing growth forecasts when the global economy is now enjoying a period of growth and recovery and our biggest trading partner is seeing its best growth in a decade, shows just how much Brexit is biting.

 

The research also showed that today’s 27-year-olds are earning the same amount as 27-year-olds did a quarter of a century ago. And a typical millennial has earned £8000 less during their 20s than those in the preceding ­generation.

 

The UK government have missed chance after chance to invest in opportunities which will boost the economy and close the inequality gap.

 

The Tories aren’t just presiding over this – watching it helpless from the sidelines – it’s their ideological choices which have created this situation. It is their decisions and policies that are creating more inequality and more unfairness. Tory complacency is just shocking.

 

They want austerity, they want cuts. Meanwhile, the so-called Paradise Papers on the amount of tax lost to the Treasury show just how much we are losing because the Tories can’t be bothered dealing with tax evasion by the super-rich.

 

Brexiteers have set the agenda for this Government, and while the Chancellor seems to see the economic self-harm Brexit is causing, he’s unable to challenge the view of leaving the Single Market and customs union.

 

Another missed opportunity Budget from a powerless Chancellor.

 

And what about the Scottish Tories – do they understand how grim the situation is? How tough things are for people just about managing in communities all across Scotland? It doesn’t look like it.

 

Once again, Scottish Tory MPs laughed themselves hoarse during the Budget when my colleague, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford, raised the issue of how folk are finding it difficult to pay energy bills with all the other demands on ever shrinking resources, and their hard-pressed household budgets.

 

They laughed at people struggling. Just think about that, as we all get much poorer and the Westminster squeeze goes on much longer.

 

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