Thursday, 26 August 2010

Con-Lib budget will hurt the less-well-off

In recent weeks, MK has called on the Coalition Government to re-think the savage cuts it is planning.

A new report from a respected think-tank, The Institute of Fiscal Studies, has now confirmed that the first budget from the new Conservative / Liberal Democrat Government is regressive.
It shows that Government plans to impose savage cuts across the public sector and to reduce benefits, while increasing VAT, will fall hardest on the less-well-off and the vulnerable.

These cuts will have a devastating impact on public services, health, education, as well as a host of vital local government services, affecting millions and millions of people. The effect on the wider economy could also be extremely damaging.

Cornwall is already seeing the impact of government cuts. The unitary council’s budget has been slashed by £17 million this year, the leadership of the Council has announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs over the next four years in anticipation of further cuts, and “Building Schools for the Future” projects in Cornwall have been cancelled.

MK has also condemned the Government for the divisive nature of many of its proposals. These include the reduction in housing benefit payments for families struggling to meet their housing costs in an over-inflated market, plans to undermine the security of tenure for council house tenants, and the part-privatisation of the education system through the ill-judged Academy and Free School schemes.

My good friend and colleague Cllr Stuart Cullimore summed it up well recently (in an MK press release). He said:

“The United Kingdom has a Government, led by millionaires from very privileged backgrounds, which is promoting regressive policies that will increase division in society … it is telling that the Government is targeting errors and fraud in the benefit system (estimated to be worth around £5 billion), but it is doing nothing meaningful to tackle the mega-bucks tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes of the well-heeled which could be worth over £40 billion a year to the Treasury. This is a Government of double-standards, with a different set of rules for the wealthy.”

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