The undisguised arrogance towards working people and the difficulties they are facing is the main feature of today’s Tory mini-budget.
Tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy, bonuses for bankers, a harsher benefit regime and derisory token gestures for working class people already struggling to heat and eat, signal the clear intent of this government – not that it was ever in any doubt.
The refusal to increase taxes on the big energy companies, and the derisory sums being offered to households to mitigate extortionate and rising bills, make this a budget for business but not for working people.
Public utilities are not luxuries – they are essential services. Gas, electric, water, fuel and broadband services must be taken into public ownership. This will help address avaricious energy prices, alleviate fuel poverty and assist in the battle against climate change. Public ownership would also ensure protection for the jobs of thousands of workers in the energy sector.
That is not a demand that we’ll hear from either the Government or the Opposition benches at Westminster – and it won’t be made by any of the Executive parties at Stormont either.
Announcements like today’s mini-budget make us think that all the Tories live in London, but we have our own home-grown free marketeers at Stormont. Beyond their rhetoric, they are all economic blood brothers. Their record tells the story: low wage economy, zero hours contracts and run-down public services.
Only a socialist economy can deliver for working people and their families.