As the nation’s attention is increasingly focused on the plight of people in flood-affected areas, one strand of political opinion, usually quite vocal, has remained noticeably silent. Advocates of low tax and low public spending have had little to say faced with a situation which demands a huge response from the full range of public services.
UK chancellor George Osborne is using divide-and-rule tactics to try to push through further cuts of around £25 billion over two years by 2017-18. This includes £12 billion in social security reductions. The poorest will be worst affected but, if he gets his way, many others currently struggling to cope with sharply rising prices and rents will be hit.
The UK government’s cuts to spending on public services are for ideological reasons, not just because of the deficit. In a speech at the lord mayor’s banquet in the Guildhall, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to build “a leaner, more efficient state. We need to do more with less. Not just now, but permanently.”