Thursday, 21 October 2010

Comprehensive (but totally ignorant) Spending Review

George Osborne announced the Comprehensive Spending Review yesterday, on top of earlier cuts.
So yesterday, at 12:30 on the dot, began the most devastating cuts (when added to the previous announced cuts) in post-war times. Not since the 1930's have cuts of this scale been made, the devastating results of which will become abundantly clear soon enough.

This 'slash and burn' approach is not the way to run a government. I was under the (perhaps false) impression that our government exists to represent the people and facilitate the needs of the nation by providing services and funding to it's people. It's a brief description, yes, but the no matter how you phrase it, the principal stays the same; Our government is supposed to help, and not hinder, the people both collectively AND individually. It's wrong then, in this view, to simply destroy the lives and livelihoods of individuals and families for 'the greater good'. I'd go as far as to say that there is no circumstance where 'the greater good' can be fully justified. Then again, I'm a leftist, so I would say that. In this case though, the greater good is the idea that if unemployment has to exceed 10% for a few years to reduce the deficit, then so be it.
I already made a brief point in my last post about the national debt and the deficit, and I while do agree that some cuts do need to be implemented to reduce the deficit and eventually get rid of it (over a period of time) I do not think this should be at the cost of millions of people's lives.

£7 billion was slashed from welfare, making it a total of £18 billion from welfare since they entered office on the fateful day of the formation of the coalition, the selling of the Liberal soul. That's not even melodrama. When you promise to cut tuition fees, and raise the support of hundreds of thousands of students up and down the country, then go ahead and double it and in some cases triple it, then actually - thatcounts as selling your soul to the Tory devil.
You can't scale back the welfare state to this degree, then cut 490,000 public sector jobs. You cut from one angle or the other. This pincer motion will result in mass unemployment, mass homelessness and mass general unrest up and down the United Kingdom.

Let me spell it out. Public sector workers already took a pay cut in the form of a pay freeze (inflation devaluing their pay means essentially they're taking a cut in real terms) cutting money to pension schemes whilst the pension age rises (probably up to 70 by the time I'm ready to retire, grim future) and then slashing 490,000 public sector workers, means something, yes something, WILL HAPPEN IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR TOO. Think of all the areas in the private sector that rely, in some way or another, on the public sector. If you're cutting 490,000 public sector workers, then maybe 300,000 (or possibly a lot more) will be cut in the private sector. The cuts made to other departments will result in similar knock on effects, like the department which handles housing, the housing budget has been slashed by over 60%... that's a huge cut!Especially in a time where theres already a housing shortage. Now, with that kind of budget cut, less houses will be built (an estimated 300,000). Less houses being built means less construction contracts and less money going to the construction industry. Which will result in job losses, numbered at around 280,000.
Add that to the expected 100,000 job losses as local councils make mass lay-offs due to funding shortages now.
That's now 1.17 million people added to the unemployment pool.

But again, we have to add to those numbers, this time with mass redundancies made in retail, financing and core industries. Supermarkets and fast food stores will cut staff without batting an eye when they notice their profit margins dropping rapidly as people now relying on state benefits (which have been slashed) find themselves scrimping and scraping (and possibly homeless). As a result of further decline in demand, core industries like steel will again find large scale redundancies, leading to yet more unemployed. The finance sector won't get by either, lack of consumer confidence and general lack of money means they'll be bitten by the cuts bug too. As tuition fees sky rocket, there'll be less young people in higher education, so that's an influx of young people jobless and with inadequate qualifications.

Now, I'm certainly no expert, but you tell me - how is this beneficial?

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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.