When the poverty figures were published last week, many people were surprised that they did not show a significant rise. Particularly for people active in their communities, the figures did not seem to reflect the hardship they are seeing.
In the last Parliament, people with disabilities who challenged government cuts were labelled extremists. Political opposition was weakened by a fear of being seen as on the side of ‘scroungers’. But with more cuts coming, perhaps that is about to change. As more and more lives are affected, awareness of just how bad these policies are is growing.
Despite some truly grim economic statistics, Chancellor George Osborne will attempt to deflect criticism for the failings of austerity economics in his Autumn Statement today, blaming the world economy and the last government.
George Osborne’s budget speech rang very hollow with people who aren’t feeling any evidence of economic recovery. And the recovery, such as it is, appears to be based mainly on consumer spending, which is puzzling when so many people are struggling to make ends meet. But there may be several factors contributing to this spending which should sound alarm bells.
After the election, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats got together and agreed on a programme of what they would actually do together in government. On taxes, they agreed their priorities were to make taxes simpler, fairer, greener and more competitive.