Saturday, 19 June 2010

Savage Cuts ignorant of regional needs

 To see the map through Tory eyes, ignore the black shaded regions.

Well, quite turbulent times we're in.
The emergency budget was announced yesterday by Gideon, and to be frank it was ignorant, smoke and mirror, damaging and ideological.

It's quickly becoming the rule of thumb that whatever Dave and Gideon tell you, believe the opposite. Apparently raising up to 20% is a fair thing to do....where as the poorest fifth of the population pay about 12% of their disposable income in VAT while the richest fifth pay about 4%.... so raising the VAT means that poorer people are paying more....that sounds fair right? I mean, after all, this is a 'progressive coalition' in Gideon's own words!

It's becoming a cliche on this blog, but.... it's just the same old Tories. Employers favoured over employees - Employers won't be paying the NI rise...however despite their earlier claim, employees will. How clever of them, only mentioning the employer so as not to draw attention to the issue.

But what worries and angers me the most is the utterly absurd claim that the load bearing for cutting the deficit will be spread evenly across the country. In the North-East 1 in 3 work in the public sector. That's a large figure, consistent with Northern Ireland and Wales. These three regions are also going to be the three to suffer most. Northern Ireland accounts for only 2% of the economy, and the North East only 3%. Cameron can encourage business all he wants, but the North East largely relies on the public sector, and is not an attractive place for investment. On top of this by throwing out Regional Development Agencies (in the North East's case - One North East) he is scrapping the very organisations that have been building and developing the private sector.
Consider this in light of the average full-time salaries in 2008:

Top three:

  • London £46,462
  • South East £32,819
  • East £30,318
Bottom three:
  • Wales £25,677
  • North East £25,551
  • Northern Ireland £25,550
We can see the striking difference there. When you tally up the facts; that these three regions are poorer, receive less funding, have a lower household income, suffer much higher rates of social deprivation, much more reliant on the government and public sector amongst many other things - then we can begin to see why the economic output per person is around 25% less than the UK average. Freezing public sector pay is therefore unfairly hitting the regions most dependant on public sector for jobs.

A £500 million 'super-hospital' in the North that had been in planning for 5 years and on the eve of fruition, was scrapped by Gideon, despite life expectancy and health in the north being again lower than the national average, whilst in London and the South, the wealthiest areas, two such hospitals are going ahead.

These emergency budget was aimed at striking down the poorer, and the more deprived regions. It was aimed at bolstering the private sector where the private sector flourished, and cutting the public sector where it's needed most. The budget is ignorant of regional inequality and indeed will exacerbate the problem, whilst pushing for further inequality in the distribution of wealth, tax breaks for the richer, and sly cuts in services and tax hikes for the poorer. All employers will be better off receiving tax breaks...whilst their workers are paying more and receiving less.

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November 2nd
Yup, still going, and hopefully November will be a return to regular blogging as I settle back into things.
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Thanks, Tom.