The left spend too much money on social welfare and the right are fiscally responsible. This is the rubbish common narrative that has been fed to the UK electorate since 2010 when austerity was introduced. It has been an argument couched in terms of ‘grown up’ politics suggesting that to support expenditure on the welfare state was a manifestation of childish reasoning.
Austerity was the lesson in grown up politics brought to us courtesy of a centre-right coalition that redrew the welfare state. Austerity, we were also told, was not an ideology but a time limited project that would end when the purpose of reducing the country’s deficit was eradicated.
In fact, ideology is not time bound but may evolve to suit the political ambitions of those who come later.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the stooge Tory candidates standing to become the next PM, have pledged to cut taxes. Boris will raise the higher rate of income tax threshold form £50,000 to £80,000. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFFFS), this move would cost £9bn. The richest 10% would benefit but not the rest of us. Jeremy Hunt has pledged to cut corporation tax to 12.5%. This would cost £13 billion a year in lost taxes.
All this will result in higher public borrowing to offset the losses to the country. The Tories have a current manifesto pledge to eradicate the deficit by the mi-2020s. This isn’t going to happen is it given the pledges being made by Hunt and Johnson?
Local authorities are hollowed out already. Social care is a ticking time bomb. School budgets resemble shoe strings.
All the centre-right can offer is the Groundhog version of their politics i.e cut taxes, cut regulation and cut spending.
I fail to see how austerity will be taken off the agenda. Lefties like me always believed that austerity was an ideological move to redraw the boundaries of British politics.