This is hardly a surprise now, is it?

The coalition\’s spending cuts will hit the poorest in society 10 times harder than the richest as the health, social and education services they rely on are slashed, an extensive new study for the Trades Union Congress has found.

Those who gain most from public services and redistribution through the tax system will lose the most if public services and redistribution through the tax system are cut.


By what logic did anyone think it would be different?

There\’s a more subtle point to be made as well. One of the great arguments in British politics (given that no one anywhere near power is seriously proposing either complete laissez faire, sadly, nor outright socialism, thankfully) is over just what is the correct amount of redistribution through the tax system, just which services should be provided through government. It\’s the meat and drink of politics as it actually is.

New Labour went one direction, towards a more socially democratic settlement. I might disagree with such (as I do) but they did win election having said they were going to and fair enough. The Tories and Lib Dems have since won election saying that they\’re going to move that dial back a bit. Similarly fair enough.

Note that I\’m not talking about how quickly the deficit is cut, where the national debt is stabilised: both parties did state very clearly that there would be some withdrawal from that social democratic style settlement.

All of this argument about \”fairness\”, inequality, is simply a cover for trying to insist that there\’s a ratchet effect in place. If the State expands under one government then no future one can be allowed to roll it back again.

And sorry, no, no Parliament may bind its successor.

5 thoughts on “This is hardly a surprise now, is it?”

  1. But these services didn’t help the poor that much. If you slash healthcare, it doesn’t affect the poor, so much as the old. Education spending hasn’t exactly raised standards for the poor (measured as literacy rates rather than GCSEs). And as far as I’m aware, the effect on lower tax thresholds is that they actually went down in real terms under Labour.

    The people who will suffer most are the sort of public sector workers that won’t be missed if you got rid of them.

  2. “towards a more socially democratic settlement….but they did win election having said they were going to”: my memory of the ’97 election campaign was that the Loathsome Wee Twat said that he was going to reform the welfare state – and managed to imply that his reforms would be in the direction that Duncan-Smith seems to be intending now. Mind you, I make no great claims for my memory.

  3. Comrade Serwotka (PCS) was on the wireless today claiming he wouldn’t accept “a single job lost, a single penny off public spending”… what was that you were saying about ratchets again?

  4. According to numbers I have, the nation’s GDP has risen in real terms by 134% since 1970. Over the same time period, the welfare bill has risen (also in real terms) by 343%.

    Can anyone give me a rational explanation why this should be so? Because to this dumb assed mining engineer, it makes no sense. At best, less people should be needing welfare. At worst the welfare bill should only have risen in line with GDP.

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