In a nutshell we could say that the Autumn Statement was: more foodbanks, a free zimmer with every pension, promotion of pollution, and keep spending on Trident.
There was nothing to help those caught in the poverty trap. The trickle down solution has not worked, the underemployed remain stuck in the loophole of austerity with rising personal debt and increasing food and fuel prices. The Chancellor could have done so much more, like giving a boost to the real economy by creating jobs for the future in clean energies and zero carbon building.
The promotion of pollution through yet more tax breaks for his friends and family in the fossil fuel companies is no joke either. Fracking for gas is just another fossil fuel industry sucking money out of the sectors trying to provide us with clean and secure energy. The Chancellor callously whipped the carpet from under the feet of all those fledgling organisations working to expand the renewables sector in wind, tide and solar energy. What we needed was a clear and convincing signal for investment in the renewables sector. What we got was the opposite – more tax breaks for friends and family – his.
Under this government’s stewardship the polluter gets paid, and handsomely. Upping the pension age was not unexpected because on the whole we are getting older and healthier. Students will need to work longer to pay off their debt, and young people certainly won’t be in a hurry to rush to the workplace knowing they will be confined to it for 50 years or more. The brave new world of increasing leisure time and work-life balance remains firmly in the grip of the few who can afford it. At the last count that was roughly 4% of the population. Opportunities for self-advancement not born from economic necessity just flew further out of the window. How different it could all be with a Citizens Income where we could all afford to choose the work which suited us, could afford to bring up our own children if we chose, could afford to live free from the stigma of benefits and food banks whilst technically in full time work.
The Chancellor’s statement was not a plan for the future, it was a last ditch gasp to hang on to the tired, dirty past.