“Back in 2010, George Osborne announced a period of savage cuts to public services that would, he claimed, ensure the government would be running a surplus by 2015. Yesterday, having failed to deliver that surplus, he announced yet more cuts that he now claims will deliver a surplus by 2020.
There is a tendency to see George Osborne as a man who repeatedly misses his targets – this is incorrect. Osborne has hit his target time after time because his targets are the poor and the vulnerable, the disabled and the young. And, of course, those green industries that offer the potential to secure a real low carbon energy future for our country without the need to rely on nuclear or shale gas.
Having promised billions in promises to the Chinese for nuclear, whilst failing to support the steel workers of the North East, yesterday he returned to his assault on those seeking to deliver truly low carbon energy with £700m of cuts to the Renewable Heat Initiative and the scrapping of the ECO scheme.
Having screamed of the urgency to reduce our debts and “live within our means”, yesterday he casually loaded even more debt on to the shoulders of students, especially those from deprived backgrounds, by freezing the student loan repayment threshold. The Chancellor did not even have the courage to include this punitive change in his speech, it appears in the small print.
Having talked up the need to deliver more homes, he slashed the New Homes Bonus that offers councils incentives to build whilst continuing to undermine efforts by councils to deliver homes that the majority of people can afford.
This is a Chancellor whose aim is not to protect those most in need of protection, it is to shrink the state and undermine our public services.
The Chancellor’s approach adds further urgency to the need for Bristol to recover greater control over its own revenue spending and capital investment opportunities, and the freedom to work with our local businesses and communities to deliver a better future for our city based on our own objectives and needs.”
“The announcements made yesterday will have a profound effect on Bristol City Council, with additional cuts of 25% to an already shrunken budget. I don’t think anyone should be fooled, especially with some of today’s sycophantic media coverage. Osborne is pruning back the state massively, with a 30% cut to DEFRA set to hit the South West in particular”.