Another budget, more austerity, argues Steph Pike. This time dressed up with a Christmas bow to keep the Tory dissenters quiet. This is what we expect
As the housing crisis deepens , Philip what-unemployed-people-Hammond
This mean-spirited offer fails to tackle the real cause of the housing crisis - the lack of decent affordable housing. With no pledge to substantially increase the building of social housing, this budget will offer nothing to people on low incomes, and nothing to alleviate the housing crisis.
A recent landmark study has linked up to 120,000 deaths to the politics of austerity. Cuts to the NHS, to social care, to welfare benefits are literally killing people. Leaders of the NHS have said that the NHS needs 4 billion pounds now to avert a catastrophic crisis. The Tory Government has already said this money will not be made available to the NHS in a budget. The Government intends to pursue its policy of economic terrorism. Nurses are likely to get a small pay rise but this will not be enough to compensate for the years of pay freeze. We demand the proper funding of the NHS and substantial pay rises for all public sector workers.
Under increasing pressure from campaigners, charities and even their own MPs, the Tory government is likely to announce small concessions, the most likely being reducing the waiting time for a first payment from 6 to 4 weeks. This is the equivalent of putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. UC is unreformable, a benefit designed to punish and impoverish the poorest in society and bully people into low paid insecure work. We call for the total abolition of Universal credit.
We don't have a crystal ball but we have 7 years experience of a government that has pursued an ideologically driven agenda of austerity. This budget will be no different; it will be a budget of continued austerity with a few crumbs thrown from the table to try and sweeten an increasingly bitter and deadly bill, and placate the critics in their own party. The Tories are a party interested only in securing the wealth of the rich at any cost; even if that cost means the deaths of 200,000 people.
The only response to this budget, whatever the detail, is to follow the example of the People's Assembly pre-budget demo yesterday, and fight back: take to the streets; protest; do everything we can to kick the Tories out of power.
Steph Pike a is a revolutionary socialist, feminist and People's Assembly activist. She is also a published poet. Her poetry collection 'Petroleuse' is published by Flapjack Press.