Infighting and infantile economics set the table for a fairly disastrous first course from our new prime minister, says Labour’s Pat Osborne
Few can deny that it was a disastrous first Conservative Party Conference for Liz Truss. Her tax cut U-turn has been a total humiliation for the new prime minister and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, prompting an infighting free-for-all amongst the Tories, reminiscent of the bunfight scene from Bugsy Malone.
But it’s hard to find any amusement in a political pie-in-the-face when it’s rooted in a collective blunder that will continue to do so much damage to those who can least afford it.
According to the Resolution Foundation, despite scrapping the abolition of the 45p tax rate, the measures announced in the now-infamous ‘mini-budget’ will deliberately widen the inequality gap further. The richest five per cent will gain an average of £3,500 next year, while the poorest 20 per cent of households will gain around £90. In fact, the richest five per cent still stand to gain more than the poorest half of the income distribution combined, with any real term benefit for most of us being swallowed up by the spiralling cost of living crisis made worse by rocketing interest rates driven by the Government’s economic incompetence.
While Truss and Kwarteng’s £18 billion corporation tax cut remains standing, the Chancellor has announced £18 billion in cuts to our already creaking public services.
Meanwhile, our schools and our hospitals require intensive care themselves, after 12 years of Tory austerity – and the hard-working people who work in them (and whom we clapped during lockdown) desperately deserve a pay rise, not another real term pay cut.
But as most of us are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet, Liz Truss’s instinct is to stand firmly by a mini-budget which is designed to line the pockets of the rich and wealthy, and has all the substance of a GCSE economics assignment copied from the Chuckle Brothers on the bus to school.