The last few years have seen a drastic erosion of living standards for ordinary families and working people in the UK. Households are being stretched to the limit by a perfect storm of a harsh economic climate, coupled with slashed support and services from the state.
- Real wages are still falling, and prices rising fast. Since 2009 the average worker has ‘lost’ £4,000.
- The welfare spending cap will cut support for low income families both in and out of work. Child benefit freezes and cuts will lose two-child families more than £1,000 by 2015. Tax credit cuts have already lost some families over £2,000.
- The Bedroom Tax will cut housing benefit for 670,000 households. The average household affected will lose over £700 a year, with disabled people and lone parents hit particularly hard.
- Big spending cuts will have slashed the value of public services, such as schools, public transport and hospitals, by £7,000 per household by 2018.
- Centrally-imposed reductions to council funding mean as many as 400 libraries risk closing, as well as other local services from youth centres to playgrounds. Hundreds of Sure Start centres have already gone.
- NHS cuts have seen 6,000 nursing posts lost, and A&E and maternity services, such as Lewisham hospital, are under threat. Pressure to privatise is fracturing NHS services locally and diverting front line service funding into bureaucracy to support competition.
Austerity is taking a heavy toll on the lives of ordinary Britons. But to make matters worse, it isn’t even working in the way the government want it to.
For the next five years or more, unless policies change the economy will not grow, incomes will not rise, and there will be almost no new jobs – We face a lost decade. Even on their own terms government policies are failing. To close the deficit we need a healthy growing economy that generates tax income. But austerity has led to a vicious circle of decline.
That is why we need a change of course. Long term policies to give us a future that works:
- A new industrial policy to back British industry
- Banks that work for Britain and new state investment bank
- A jobs guarantee for young people
- A fair tax system that tackles the tax dodgers and makes the banks pay a fair share through a Robin Hood tax.
- A massive programme to build social and affordable housing.