Talk­ing pol­i­tics

John Knight Green Party

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

THIS month’s cruel and coun­ter­pro­duc­tive bud­get is dire news for peo­ple in Bri­tain and a se­ri­ous blow to the Con­ser­va­tive Gov­ern­ment’s al­ready stained record on cli­mate change.

The wel­fare cuts an­nounced will plunge thou­sands of peo­ple into poverty, and cause fam­i­lies to be evicted from their homes, while the plan to raise the in­her­i­tance tax thresh­old will, ac­cord­ing to the Trea­sury’s own anal­y­sis, ben­e­fit high in­come and wealthy house­holds. Thou­sands of Max­o­ni­ans are set to face need­less hard­ship as this Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues its eco­nom­i­cally il­lit­er­ate and ut­terly un­just mis­sion to hack away at our wel­fare state and public ser­vices. Labour con­tin­ues to of­fer no ef­fec­tive op­po­si­tion, with their leader en­dors­ing the low­er­ing of the ben­e­fits cap, be­tray­ing the many peo­ple in Bri­tain who are strug­gling to get by.

The an­nounce­ment of a ‘Na­tional Liv­ing Wage’ of £7.20 an hour from next April – ris­ing to £9.00 in 2020 – is a step in the right di­rec­tion (and more than Labour were promis­ing), but call­ing it a Liv­ing Wage doesn’t make it one; the Liv­ing Wage Foun­da­tion cal­cu­lates that £7.85 an hour (out­side Lon­don) should be the bare min­i­mum. Worse, by leav­ing out the un­der-25s, mil­lions will be con­demned to re­main on poverty wages.

There is an enor­mous cli­mate-shaped hole in this bud­get. Min­is­ters know that cli­mate change presents a huge threat to our econ­omy and na­tional se­cu­rity - not just to public health and our en­vi­ron­ment. Yet Ge­orge Os­borne has re­fused to change di­rec­tion and, in ax­ing the cli­mate-change levy ex­emp­tion for re­new­able elec­tric­ity and com­mit­ting to fur­ther fund­ing for road build­ing, he is putting progress on cli­mate change in jeop­ardy. We have seen yet another ex­am­ple of reck­less short-term pol­icy mak­ing that pri­ori­tises the prof­its of pol­luters over the public in­ter­est in a safe and hab­it­able cli­mate.

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