In the spirit of christmas, the Chancellor George Osborne has released his Autumn spending review. We spoke with Philipa Anders, a political expert and asked her for her views on our new budget.
The biggest news is that to the relief of the millions of families living on the breadline, Mr Osborne has made a massive U-turn in the cuts to tax credits that were set to affect families by around £1300 a year. He has decided to let those families keep their tax credits after all, after the gigantic, constitution shaking backlash he faced from the Lords, as well as from every British person with a conscience.
“This is a complete shock, not only to the public, but also to MPs. Osborne and his Aides have been insisting that the cuts to tax credits were coming right up until a few days ago.”
In the second massive spin around, it was announced that there will be no cuts to the police budget. Osborne refused to deny or confirm any cuts to the budget despite being surrounded by a media shitstorm over the matter.
“This seems like a bit of a PR move by George Osborne to me. By refusing to say anything for such a long time he’s now playing the hero a little bit and soaking up the glory. Its a clever move to boost the Tory profile in the run up to the mayoral elections giving their candidate Zac Goldsmith a little boost to his campaign.”
With old people living longer than ever before and hanging on to their houses, and foreign investors buying up London property for its high investment potential, it seems unavoidable that we are living in a mass housing crisis; with it being revealed that UK property prices are the most expensive in Europe.
With the housing budget doubling to £2bn this year, for many this promises hope of being able to take the first step onto the property ladder. Osborne has pledged to build 400,000 new homes by 2020.
Around half of these properties will be ‘starter homes’, (however to purchase one in London you will be paying upwards of £450,000) they will also bring in 135,000 shared ownership properties, with the hope that owning your own home will become more accessible.
Another benefit for generation rent is the prospect of a new help-to-buy scheme requiring only a 5% deposit and an interest free loan of up to 40% of the value of a new-build property.
He has also announced a new ‘thatcheresque’ pilot scheme to allow tenants under five selected housing associations to buy their own homes.
Osborne has placed an extra 3% stamp duty on second homes and buy to let properties, with the promise of raising an additional £1bn by 2021 for the treasury coffers.
“George Osborne is not listening once again. He is ignoring well considered advice that encouraging more help-to-buy schemes and continuing to allow people to purchase housing association properties is perpetuating the house price bubble in the country, particularly in London. What he needs to be doing is trying to prevent another collapse in the market. The way this is going, it could end in a bloody and painful way for everyone.”
Osborne has pledged to make an enormous £12bn worth of welfare savings in this parliament, making some of the savings through the capping of housing benefit at the local housing allowance rate.
“Once again it seems like Osborne is living up to his reputation as the modern day Robin Hood, the bravado of allowing Britain’s poorest families to keep their tax credits is overwritten by the pinching in other areas.”
In period news the Chancellor announced that the £15m raised every year in ‘tampon tax’ will be ‘given back’ by using it to fund women’s charities. This inspired a tweet from the women’s equality party, who found the move fairly patronising.
Women are funding their own support and service by having periods! #spendingreview
— WomensEqualityUK (@WEP_UK) November 25, 2015
Chancellor Osborne announced that he plans to make £22bn worth of efficiency savings within the NHS, however he has pledged a £10bn increase to the budget, with a further £6bn to come in the next year. He has also introduced new loans for student nurses with the intention of creating 10,000 new training places to a drastically understaffed industry.
“The new cash is all well and good, and is something that our healthcare system desperately needed to survive. However, the rest seems to me like a tricky move from Osborne. New loans for student nurses does sound like a positive, but when you look behind the facade you see that he is scrapping the NHS funded education that nurses previously received and is now making them pay for it, it does seem a little different.”
Doesn’t the world just seem like a better place now you know for sure just how much shitter things are going to be?
Merry Christmas to you too, George.
Featured image by Berit Watkin via Flickr CC