Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

Don’t let the Tories hide their dirty washing behind BREXIT

by Ian Shires on 20 April, 2017

Image result for walsall budget cutsContinued austerity measures are hitting hard working people across the UK whilst the super-rich have seen their net worth more than double. Don’t let the Tories gloss over the facts under the smokescreen of BREXIT!

Since the last General Election in 2015 the Tories have ensured that the richest in the land have benefited whilst the rest of struggle to just about manage or worse. The gap between the haves and the have not’s is wider than ever.

Cuts to local government continue at a pace and there is no end in sight as long as a Tory Government is in power at Westminster.
Image result for cllr ian shires“Here in Walsall the council is faced with cutting a further £86 million from its budgets between now and 2020.” said Cllr Ian Shires leader of the Liberal Democrats in coalition with Labour in the town since last May.

And it doesn’t stop there. Theresa May’s Government are slashing schools’ budgets whilst at the same time miraculously finding the money to open new grammar schools. “Schools in Walsall are set to see their budgets slashed by over £19 million at a time when pupil numbers are on the increase.” said Cllr Shires.

Perhaps the most blatant utterings from the Tories has been centred around the NHS. People seem to have short memories.

Image result for £350 million nhs busAround this time last year there was a big red bus touring the country with the slogan “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead” put your hand up if you fell for this?

In only took until October for the penny to drop. At that time the first public reports on NHS England’s Sustainable Transformation Plans hit our street. They blatantly stated that by 2021 our NHS needed to spend £10bn a year less. Later versions had this little-known fact redacted.

No matter, the cat was out of the bag, far from investing £350 million a week the Tories were planning to bleed the NHS dry and force through ever more privatisation. In the Black Country version, we are told that even with their cost cutting plans there was a massive £178million funding gap plus NHS bosses expected local authorities to find a further £188million from their hard-pressed social care budgets.

Image result for Walsall police cutsThe police service has also taken a battering from the Tories. Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales have said with more savings needed there will need to be a fundamental rethink on how we are organised, the service we offer the public, and the roles and skills needed.”

The analysis shows that:

  • Varying between forces, since 2010 staff posts have reduced by 15,500 (19.5%);
  • By 2020 police staffing levels could reduce to approximately 100,000 – the lowest level since the mid-1970s, and a further reduction of 17% since CSR10;
  • The funding shortfall could be approximately £400 million in the first year and increasing up to as high as £1.2 billion by 2020;
  • With fewer people to call on the successful civilianisation of some posts may be scaled back or reversed. Some forces have already identified that officers would have to perform back office functions; and
  • While further savings in running costs, procurement and ICT can be delivered over the next five years a fundamental reconfiguration of roles will be needed.

In the meantime:

Image result for austerity measures and the rich ukWhilst this has been going on, the super-rich in this country have got richer and richer at the expense of the rest. Since the start of the financial crisis their net worth has more than doubled. The top 1% of households holds around 20% of all household wealth. Younger generations are on course to have less wealth at each point in life than earlier generations and inheritances do little to even out wealth holdings.

Whilst the Tories have been busy imposing austerity on the masses they have been busy looking after their friends the super-rich by:

  • Raising the 40p Tax threshold from £43,000 to £45,000
  • No income cap on ISA investment
  • Allowing £20,000 in tax free saving
  • Cut Capital Gains Tax
  • Lowered Corporation Tax

The richest will reap 80% of the rewards from the tax and benefit changes that started to come into effect this month, while the poorest will become worse off, according to detailed analysis by the Resolution Foundation.

The independent think-tank’s research shows that the effect of £2bn of income tax cuts and more than £1bn of welfare cuts will add up to a Image result for Mrs May and televised debatehuge transfer of wealth from low- and middle-income households to richer ones.

The reforms, set in train by former chancellor George Osborne, run directly contrary to the political mantra of Theresa May, who has said she wants to govern in the interests of everyone and not just the privileged few. No wonder she doesn’t want to attend any Televised events when overall most of the additional support will benefit the better-off. The impact of the changes mean that:

  • A low-income single parent with a baby, earning £17,300 a year, will be £530 worse off, losing £610 from benefit cuts while gaining £80 from tax cuts.
  • A middle-income working couple earning £33,500 a year, with three children including a baby, will be £2,500 worse off overall, losing £2,700 from benefit cuts while gaining £160 from tax cuts.
  • A high-income couple with two children, earning £100,000 a year, will be £480 better off, with no benefit losses and all gains stemming from tax cuts.

This graphically illustrates that the Tories have amassed a great deal of baggage in a very short time. Couple this with signs that the economy is starting to take a turn for the worse with inflation kicking in as prices in the shops rise. You have to ask how Theresa May can claim as she does that her Government is looking after those who were “Just About Managing”.

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