THE Chancellor, George Osborne, has described the measures in his Budget as "unavoidable". Urgent and savage cuts in public spending are, he argues, necessary to eliminate Britain's structural deficit by 2014 and take us into to surplus by the end of
this Parliament (Yorkshire Post, June 23).
Yet there is no compelling economic reason for dealing in such haste with the deficit. On the contrary, by cutting so deeply into the public sector while simultaneously reducing spending power through his measures on tax and benefits, Osborne risks tipping us into a second bout of recession or even, if his ideas are copied across Europe, into a slump.
Indeed, what is unavoidable, as a direct consequence of the Lib-Con assault on the public services, is a huge surge in unemployment as hundreds of thousands of workers in the public sector and beyond find themselves out of work.
The Chancellor declared his Budget to be "tough but fair". But fairness surely demands that the biggest burden be borne by those with the broadest economic shoulders – and by those responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place. The deficit is largely the legacy of the implosion of the banks, of the property bubble which preceded it and the deep recession which ensued. Yet the bankers and property speculators whose activities triggered this calamity get away largely scot-free from this Budget.
The culprits emerge unscathed because Lib-Con dogma now states that 80 per cent of the deficit reduction must come from reducing public expenditure and only 20 per cent from tax increases. In support of this policy, the Chancellor simply repeats his assertion that this is the best way to go, but offers no coherent rationale.
The slavering bankers, speculators and the rest of the super-rich who have grabbed for themselves an outrageously large slice of the nation's private wealth escape too, because the Lib-Cons have chosen to increase the tax-take by raising the rate of VAT rather than those of fairer income-related taxes.
Although the rich may spend more and thus pay more VAT in total, their spending is mainly discretionary and their wealth buffers them from its impact.
Rather, it is upon the least well-off that the blow of the VAT sledgehammer falls most cruelly. Thus it is the poor, who depend the most upon public services and who are hardest hit by the increase in VAT, who will carry the can. So too the disabled
This Budget is not about fairness, or securing the future of the economy. It is about the Tories seizing the opportunity to indulge their ideological attachment to shrinking the state, and it should be opposed.
From: Allan Davies, Heathfield Court, Grimsby.
RUTH Lea, in singing the praises of Sir Geoffrey Howe's 1981 budget (Yorkshire Post, June 22) overlooks one or two key, if inconvenient, points.
First, that with growth below trend, unemployment continued to rise until 1986, when it reached the three million mark. She also failed to point out the high benefits of North Sea Oil, which not only contributed to growth, but also gave the UK a Balance of Trade surplus since, unbelievably, 1822 (the other was in 1969).
The same policies were continued after Sir Geoffrey Howe left office. After a brief fall, unemployment rose again and surpassed the three million mark in the early 1990s.
Ideology appears impervious to evidence!
From: Steve Scarfe, Humberdale Close, Swanland, East Yorkshire.
THE Chancellor stated in his Budget: "Today there are some families receiving 104,000 a year in housing benefit. The cost of that single award is equivalent to the total income tax and national insurance paid by 16 working people on median incomes."
This is disgusting. Name and shame these families.
Let's punish the nation's law-breakers
From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Radcliffe, Manchester.
ACCORDING to new Universities Minister, David Willetts, university degrees are an unsustainable burden on the taxpayer. What then is the cost of crime, disorder and incarceration? And if our prisons weren't bursting at the seams, there would surely be a great deal more law-breakers behind bars.
The truth is Britain, with its poverty, homelessness, unemployment, drugs and greed, is essentially a law-breaking society, exacerbated by lenient punishments. Do immigrants target Britain for work, for the welfare system, or because crime pays?
From the litter lout, to the corrupt public servant; from the pickpocket to the drug baron; from the bully to the terrorist; from the benefit cheat to the cheating athlete, and somewhere in between the law-breaking driver who is responsible for eight deaths and scores of serious injuries every day – another unsustainable burden on our welfare system and the honest taxpayer is this not? Does Britain qualify as the law-breaking capital of Europe?
The future of the best of British is being compromised by the worst of it.So why not divert money and raise money from the law-breakers to support universities?
Increased taxes and cuts in public spending can't be the only way to bail the nation out of difficult times. What about increased fines? Better still, (if only to show fair play for the poor) what about means tested fines? If a man on a minimum wage is fined say 60 (perhaps 50 per cent of his weekly wage) then how can it be right for a man on over 100,000 per week, to be fined the same amount rather than the same percentage?
If poor people are to suffer extreme hardship for years to come, so should law-breakers and millionaires.
If the honest are to suffer for years to come, shouldn't the law-breaker suffer even more? Britain surely now needs zero tolerance, respect and discipline from all.
Easy target for Obama
From: Ross Taggart, The Avenue, Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland.
RECENT events in the United States serve to demonstrate what a foolish fallacy the idea is of there being a "special relationship" between that country and Great Britain. BP, or British Petroleum, as Mr Obama prefers to name it, is being ripped to shreds in a feeding frenzy of greed by American lawyers and lawmakers alike.
The loss of dividends to this country will be huge. Equally huge, and something that is carefully not being mentioned by our politicians as yet, will be the consequent loss of tax revenues to the British Treasury. This loss of national income, which we can ill afford, will be viewed with understandable alarm by our foreign creditors on whose goodwill we now depend.
Let anyone who is tempted to believe the anti-BP propaganda consider this; is it possible to believe, even for a moment, that the Americans would have behaved in the same manner towards a Russian or Chinese-owned company? Not a chance. The Americans do not see us as friends – just an easy target too weak to hit back. Let us at least get out of Afghanistan. Or are we too terrified of the Americans to do even that?
Patients who abuse NHS
From: C Wright, Skipton.
REGARDING the article on the NHS by James Gubb (Yorkshire Post, June 11), I have worked as a nurse for 41 years and agree we are not perfect, but the amount of change in administration we nurses have had to cope with over the years is enough to try a saint.
I also feel strongly that until the general public stop abusing the service and take responsibility for their own health, then we will also have this uphill struggle to make ends meet.
I have worked in Primary Care for 20 years – non attenders are a very big problem and most do not even apologise when their missed appointment is pointed out to them. Also, the amount of drugs wasted by not being taken at all or incorrectly is a big burden on our resources. It thankfully is not everyone, but the few that abuse our NHS are making it harder for us to treat the ill.
Every department, I am sure, will have similar tales to tell. We need to save money but this cannot be done without all of us thinking about our health in all areas from pregnancy, the beginning, to death.
Power to the bureaucracy
From: Edwin Schirn, Victoria Grove, Ilkley.
DAVID Cameron promised "power to the people" and directly-elected executive mayors. But your report (Yorkshire Post, June 22) on a Government-appointed team of commissioners to manage Doncaster Council shows a very different picture.
No mention of the directly-elected mayor. That is a slap in the face for all the people who voted to elect a mayor for Doncaster, whoever theyvoted for. Some "power to the people".
Then, the commissioners are to "ensure" that "the council decision makers do not act against the advice of their statutory officers". That gives all power to three highly-paid employees which each and every district council appoints – the chief executive, the monitoring officer, and the treasurer.
That is not "power to the people". That is "all-power to the bureaucracy". And before you say "they are the professionals"; remember that you didn't elect them to tell you what to do – but you pay them, and you pay them well.
We have spent our way to financial catastrophe
From: Jonathan Goldsbrough, Harrogate.
IN response to Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East (Yorkshire Post, June 24), I would quote the words of Murray Rothbard: "It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialised discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science'. But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."
Keynesianism and its adherence to by countless politicians and central bankers over the last 60 years is the very cause of the present economic catastrophe. As a nation, we have borrowed and spent beyond our means. Real economic growth does not come from government spending; it comes from saving and production.
The Government supports the economy like a rope supports a hanging man – keeping people in occupations that are not economically viable and prevents them from moving into more productive occupations.
Mr Dugher asks whether it is better for young people to be living off benefits as opposed to being in work – my answer is that when the government is creating fantasy jobs, there is no difference.
Mr Dugher's party was in office for 13 years – how dare he lecture the new government on how to clear up the mess that he and other statists around the world managed to create.