Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths issued the following response to Chancellor Hunt’s budget statement today (March 15):
When is tax rise not a tax rise – when it is a tax on corporate profits. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is going ahead with Prime Minister Sunak’s increase in the headline rate of Corporation Tax (CT) from 19 per cent to 25 per cent.
Yet he also boasts that only one-in-ten companies will be paying it. The current loophole for avoidance will become an enormous chasm, as companies offset real and bogus spending on IT, plant and machinery against tax over the next three years.
That means the Treasury is foregoing around £27bn in CT revenue over the next three years – income that could have been invested in green energy-saving and cost-cutting programmes that would keep people warm and help them travel more easily for work, family and leisure purposes.
Hunt talks about a high-wage, low tax economy in which hard work is a highly rewarded virtue.
Yet he puts peanuts aside for the genuinely hard-working public sector workers who staff our hospitals, schools and local community services.
At the same time, he lifts the tax-free cap on annual private pension contributions from £40,000 to £60,000 – how many hard-working employees have a spare £5,000 a month to pay into their private pension pot?
The plans to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses are unchanged. Britain’s corrupt weapons industry will be celebrating an extra £11bn in military spending over the next five years, including £5bn to boost the US-UK-Australian cold war offensive against China.
These giveaways to the rich and big business, amounting to more than £42bn, put the £5bn extra for childcare – after five years of cuts – into proportion. Then there are the billions in public funds that compensate the energy suppliers – under the guise of the ‘energy price guarantee’ – for not raising their prices even higher, while continuing to pay the wage bills of the train operating companies as they jack up the fares.
As living standards are set to fall still further over the next two years, all Chancellor Hunt can offer is the hope that the economy will grow next year while inflation is mystically slashed by two-thirds in time for this Christmas.
A million striking workers have shown today that they reject the ‘more pain today, perhaps some jam tomorrow’ policies of this government.
But they and millions more will need to fight just as hard to force any future Labour government onto the path of progressive taxation, wealth redistribution, public investment, economic planning and the nationalisation of essential industries and services.