Ian Shires

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

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Austerity to continue as further cuts set to hit those “Just about managing”

by Ian Shires on 12 March, 2018

A great deal is being made today of the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s claim that Britain’s finances have reached a turning point.

Let’s hope he’s right when he suggests that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that it’s not just someone coming the other way with a torch!

What’s actually happening is that the rate of borrowing is down to the lowest level for around 20 years. That might well be the case but the national debt still stands at around £1.8 trillion.

He makes this statement today but is also saying that the Government’s austerity measures need to stay in place until at least the mid 2020’s in order to get the national debt to manageable levels.

So we can expect to see local government services to continue to take a bashing, they’ve had their Central Government funding slashed by a mind numbing 50% plus. Already one council, Northamptonshire County Council, has already been banned from any new spending with other council’s across England looking at the potential of substantial budget deficits in the next few years.

Add to this the fact that families who are already struggling to make ends meets are about to hit by the biggest annual cut to benefits for six years. These are the very people that Prime Minister Theresa May had vowed to help in the run up to last year’s General Election.

These new cuts to benefits come at a time when incomes for the middle and low paid have fallen in real terms. Some 11 million families will be affected is it any wonder there is social unrest. MP’s talk in terms of affordable homes; home ownership to many, particularly the young, is nothing but a dream. Many struggle to feed the family and pay the rent. How are they going to save for a deposit let alone earn enough to qualify for a mortgage.

New research is showing that a family with a couple of children are likely to see their income reduced by £190 this year alone. This is in marked contrast to those at the top end of earnings who have benefited from tax cuts since 2015. The rich are doing just fine under the Tories.

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