end austerity Anti-austerity demonstration, London 2015. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The real purpose of austerity is to clobber working people to benefit big business and the rich

George Osborne’s boast that his deficit target has been met is sickening in its complacency. The Tory policy of austerity, which continues to outlive the failed Chancellor, was never about balancing the books. That’s why his successor Philip Hammond is sticking with a deeply damaging policy, even though the supposed target has been met.

In reality the huge programme of cuts, pay freezes and continuing privatisations always had a very different aim. That was to transfer income from workers and the poor to big business and the rich. That’s why in their very first budget the Tories hiked VAT, which affects the poorest the most, and cut corporate taxes. These amounts exactly balanced each other. The purpose was not to narrow the public deficit but to take incomes from the poor and give them to big business. This has been the policy ever since.

Now that their own target of no deficit on day-to-day or current government spending has been met, there is no logic behind continued austerity even on their terms. We could easily have a policy of improving public services, removing the public sector pay freeze and increasing investment. But this government will not do it. The real purpose remains clobbering working people to benefit big business and the rich. 

The sooner this government and their failed polices go, the better it will be for the overwhelming majority of people in this country.

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