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The brutality is in the small print

Cutting public spending by £83bn within 4 years and eliminating the entire £109bn structural deficit within a single 5-year Parliamentary session is the most ambitious Tory attempt yet, Mrs. Thatcher not excluded, to turn the clock back to pre-Welfare State days and to embed private services more deeply into British society.   But the bare figures don’t reveal half of it.

If health services are increasingly put out to tender, will it be impossible to bring them back under NHS principles without major legal challenges from private (especially US multi-national) companies?   Will NHS activities be able to be challenged under EU competition rules because of the growing intensification of the market?

Will the halving (an unprecedented 50% cut) in the social housing budget leave 5 million households without hope of the housing they need for a decade or more?   Will big cuts in housing benefit lead to social cleansing (i.e. freezing out low-paiod working class families) from inner city areas?   Will the new proposal for shorter-term tenure at near-market rents lead to long-term revolving door insecurity?

Will the 16% real terms cut abruptly imposed on the BBC at the last moment severely damage public sector broadcasting in Britain whilst allowing Murdoch, with a £5.9bn empire already far larger than the BBC, to emerge as the new Berlusconi, especially if he is permitted to go ahead with buying up the 61% of BSkyB he does not already own?

There are many, many such questions.   Read the small print very, very carefully.

One Comment

  1. john rogers says:

    While I agree with much of this, in terms of welfare surely it was N/L who created the policy framework and moral atmosphere which has facilitated these cuts. It was N/L which brought in the ESA and the very brutal new medical test, the reforms to HB were first ‘floated’ by Caroline Flint and it was NL who have encouraged near permant ad campaigns on buses etc about ‘benefit fraud’ which have led to the public conflating all claimants with fraudasters.

    The Condems simpy couln’t have achieved this depth of cuts without the last Gov’t’s handywork.

    One could accept this is all history with the ‘new generation’ now in place but Ed and his shadows have said they support most of these cuts!

    The L/P must change their position on the welfare changes and not just follow populist demonising of claimants, etc.

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