Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget is for the profits of the few rather than the wellbeing of the many.
He plans to dole out many more billions to big business but still refuses to admit who is going to end up paying for yet another eye-watering bail-out of British capitalism. He claims economic growth will generate some of the tax revenues needed, yet the Office for Budget Responsibility has now cut its economic growth forecasts for every year from now until the end of 2025 except the next one.
He could have granted NHS workers an emergency pay bonus and unveiled extra support for local authorities to prevent inflation-busting rises in Council Tax. He didn’t. He could have used our freedom from EU directives to slash and selectively abolish VAT.
Funds for massive investment in health, social care, council housing and the civil emergency services could have been funded from immediate increases in Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax and the introduction of a Financial Transactions Tax.
Instead, he set a Corporation Tax trap for Keir Starmer and his timid Shadow Chancellor which they fell into while rushing to defend astronomical profits in the City of London.
An extra 21p a week in the full National Living Wage and £19.24p a week in Universal Credit pale in contrast to the extra £65 billion announced for economic and business support.
In reality, the Covid pandemic has exposed the contradictions of British capitalism.
This Budget will do next to nothing to end chronic underinvestment in the NHS and the privatised elderly care system. Nor will it abolish poverty pay for key and front-line workers or halt the resurgence in child poverty.
The British economy, with its emphasis on financial services, privatisation, overseas investments and anti-trade union laws, has shown itself incapable of meeting the challenge of a public health crisis.
Only a planned socialist economy would have prioritised the production of hospital beds, medical equipment, drugs and communication networks to protect the people over huge public subsidies to protect corporate profits.