Tax breaks for the Super Rich
Parliament sat for just two days (totalling just over twelve hours) after the end of the period of national mourning for Her Majesty the Queen. We’re now on recess for two weeks. The SNP have called for MPs to be recalled to Parliament for an urgent debate on the cost of living crisis and the perilous state of the UK economy. At the time of writing we don’t know if our request will be granted.
The Chancellor’s “mini budget” last Friday was supposed to be about stimulating economic growth but in fact it was about giving massive tax breaks to the super rich. The Government will have to borrow an additional £146 billion to pay for its tax cuts. The wealthiest 5% of people in Britain will pocket about half of these cuts. Someone with an income of £1 million per year will get an extra £55,000. Someone working 40 hours per week on minimum wage will be about £150 per year better off.
The Chancellor was challenged on many parts of his budget and he dodged almost every question. I asked if he would give sufficient funding to public sector bodies to allow them to pay their workers a fair wage. Another MP asked for a guarantee that Universal Credit and other benefits would keep pace with inflation. He refused to answer either question. So, the bankers will get their bonuses and tax refunds while low paid workers and unemployed folk will be left even worse off.
The mini budget was not just grossly unfair, it was recklessly irresponsible. At a time when the UK’s budget deficit is in danger of spiralling out of control the government have chosen to go even further into debt. Even the bankers think this is crazy and within seconds of the Chancellor’s statement the pound started to plunge to its lowest levels in years. The cost of borrowing is also increasing.
The Government are claiming that they are protecting people on low incomes. Nothing could be further than the truth. They want you to believe they’ve given you a cut in your electricity and gas bills. In fact most people will still be paying much more than they were last year, often more than twice as much. It’s scandalous that in Scotland, where we produce more energy than we use, our people are being forced further into poverty by spiralling energy costs.
Another plank of the Tories’ “plan” is to launch even more attacks on workers’ rights. They have announced plans to ban strike action in some public services. There’s no doubt that industrial action in services such as the railways and refuse collection has been disruptive but banning workers from going on strike is not the answer. There’s nothing unreasonable about workers wanting their pay to keep pace with the rising cost of living. The problem is that we’re tied to a UK Government that cares more about millionaires than ordinary workers.