Autumn Budget Statement: inflation and tax up, growth down – working people under attack

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The Communist Party’s General Secretary, Robert Griffiths, has issued the following response to yesterday’s Autumn Budget Statement:

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement by Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed two things that we already knew.

1. that the posturing and window dressing in the run up to the 2024 Westminster election is already well under way.

And 2. that the Tories limp on towards that election politically bankrupted and without anything new or meaningful to offer working people.

The empty pre-election gestures – miniscule reductions to National Insurance and increases to the minimum wage, pensions and benefits – are meaningless. They do nothing to account for the grinding inflation of the last few years and will be swallowed up instantly by future inflation which continues to be sky high.

Crucially there was no reduction in VAT, the regressive taxation which increases the price of all staples on which working people rely – a measure which Communists have been demanding for years.

No meaningful measures were announced to address the spiralling cost of living that we continue to face – and look set to continue to face for years to come.

The response from the Tories’ own so-called Office for Budget Responsibility shows the real underlying state of Britain’s economy.

Although inflation has decreased somewhat (no thanks to the Government) it continues to be rampant and higher than forecast. The already low growth that was hoped for is now forecast to be even lower. The national debt and the interest paid on it continues to spiral.

The Tories have however managed to sneak in the sale of the remaining 38% of state owned shares in Natwest within 12 months. After the having bailed out the banks to the tune of billions, we now stand to lose billions more in their fire sale. All the while the directors, who should have been in jail cells, received millions in bonuses and private shareholders had their profits guaranteed.

Another thing we can be sure of is that, if the Tories do win the next election, whatever they pretend to give with one hand this year and in the next Spring Budget, they’ll take back with the other tenfold in fresh cuts and attacks on living standards in the years to come.

For their part, Starmer’s Labour Party have noted Tory failure but have similarly failed to propose anything markedly different. In reality, Sunak and Starmer have the same right wing economic agenda.

The Communist Party is clear about what kind of budget Britain needs. We need massive investment in jobs, housing, infrastructure and public services to guarantee full employment, high wages and economic growth. This could be funded easily and immediately by a windfall tax on the monopolies and consistently taxing the rich and big business.

To achieve these polices we need a mass movement, a united front, of the left and labour movement capable of exerting mass political pressure in Parliament, but more importantly, on the streets, where the real power lies. Building and advancing a movement of this kind is ultimately how we get Britain on the socialist path – the only real and permanent solution to capitalist crisis.