Denton and Reddish MP, has responded to the Chancellor’s Spring Budget and called for an end to austerity as the Tories bungling of Brexit which is continuing to push our economy to the edge of chaos with price rises, job losses and businesses failing.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that the size of the Spending Review 2019 envelope will mean that the Chancellor will need to find £5 billion more by 2024 to stop further per-head cuts to departments – and an additional £4 billion to stop further social security cuts. Even more will be needed to start to undo the damage caused by the £41 billion departmental spending cuts and more than £35 billion social security cuts since 2010. Latest figures available show that more than 15% of the UK labour force were classed as self-employed, a rise of 45% since 2001.
Nine years of accumulated austerity have robbed the economy of almost £100 billion in potential growth, according to analysis by the New Economics Foundation; that is about £3,600 lost for every household.[i] The deficit has been passed down to other public services, such as councils and NHS trusts. According to the King’s Fund in late 2018, 48% of NHS trusts were in financial deficit, this is higher than 2016-17 (44% in deficit) and 2017-18 (44% in deficit). In 2010-11, just 5% of NHS trusts were in deficit.[ii]
Even with global growth flagging. UK growth in 2018 was 1.4%, the slowest since 2012.[iii] According to the OECD, in 2018, growth in Australia was 2.9%; growth in the United States was 2.9%; growth in Korea was 2.7%. The UK’s growth lagged behind and the OECD commented that the UK’s “growth had disappointed”.[iv]
Labour has an alternative for Britain. Rebuilding our country starts with ending the destructive austerity programme of the past nine years. But Labour’s ambition is much greater: to bring about a radical transformation to an environmentally sustainable, high-wage economy which delivers for the many not the few in all regions and nations of the UK.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“When the Tories claim they’ve cut the deficit, remember that the deficit has just been passed on to our public services, such as the NHS where half of trusts were in deficit last year, whereas only a handful were in 2010.
” At least 3.8 million people are in insecure work with millions more struggling from day to day, what they needed was a Spring Budget to end Tory austerity, and maximise growth and prosperity, sadly the Chancellor didn’t even come close.”
[i] ONS, ‘GDP monthly estimate, UK: December 2018’, 11 February 2019, online at https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/bulletins/gdpmonthlyestimateuk/december2018.
[ii] OECD Interim Economic Outlook, 6 March 2019, at p. 2, online at http://www.oecd.org/economy/outlook/global-growth-weakening-as-some-risks-materialise-OECD-interim-economic-outlook-handout-march-2019.pdf.
[iii] The King’s Fund, ‘Trusts in Deficit’, 29 November 2018, online at https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/trusts-deficit.
[iv] Alfie Stirling, ‘Austerity is Subduing UK Economy By More Than £3,600 per Household This Year’, New Economics Foundation, 21 February 2019, online at https://neweconomics.org/2019/02/austerity-is-subduing-uk-economy-by-more-than-3-600-per-household-this-year.