Liam Young writes:
In light of this new Tory budget, it is important to remember that the Conservative party has been in power for six years.
At some point, the economic calamity they have ruled over has to stop being someone else’s fault.
At some point, Cameron and Osborne must take responsibility for the austerity measures they continue to impose.
At some point, this government must take responsibility for the pain and poverty that it is causing up and down this country in the name of ideology.
The British people have been taken for a ride, and now it is time to step off this Tory rollercoaster and assess the extent of Osborne’s economic failures.
So what did Osborne really announce today, behind the rhetoric and the pre-prepared jokes?
Despite his constant back-peddling on deficit reduction, the Chancellor has confirmed that a large structural deficit remains.
Despite talk of a strong growing economy, the Chancellor confirmed that in every year the OBR has made predictions, growth is revised downwards.
In just six years, the Tory government will have borrowed almost double the amount of money that Labour borrowed in thirteen.
In May, the Chancellor set himself three fiscal rules, and today, just ten months later, he confirmed that he has broken two of them already.
His economic credibility is shot, his competency broken.
But it is not the Tory members who pay for his incompetency – it is the normal people of Britain, especially those on lower incomes, hit harder every single year that passes with a Conservative Chancellor in the Treasury office.
The Chancellor said that this was a budget for the next generation, even as the Institute for Fiscal Studies predicted that absolute child poverty would rise from 15 per cent to 18 per cent.
The Chancellor argued once again that his party is the party of builders, and yet people up and down this country are forced to pay their rent from the overdraft because they cannot find affordable housing.
Though offers were made on business rates, not one announcement was made to help our crippled steel industry.
Employment may technically be at its highest level but the reality of that employment is grim: as 700,000 people have found jobs, 630,000 zero-hours contracts have been made.
People may be employed on paper, but their wages remain stubbornly low and they still have to claim benefits to survive.
Extra flood defence funding was announced, but months after the damage was already done.
This budget is less of a long-term economic plan and more of a long-term, sustained assault on the British working and middle classes.
After almost six years of government, what does this Tory party have to show for itself?
All the pain that we see in our society was supposed to be the bitter pill we had to swallow for economic recovery.
We were “all in it together” to solve it, apparently, especially if we had nothing to do the cause in the first place.
But there has been no economic recovery. The Chancellor has missed every target he set himself and it is the British people who pay the price for his mismanagement of our economy.
It is clear that the traditional approach has failed us; the same old economic arguments have simply not worked.
“Fixing the roof while the sun shines” was a fallacy.
It is time for people to look past the rhetorical bluster aimed at the Labour party and focus on the new economic proposals offered by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.
Only a radical reform agenda will save our economy and deliver for the British people.
Let us no longer cross our fingers and hope everything will get better – the Tories have had six years and they have failed.
It’s time for an alternative backed up by well-respected economists.
And that means turning back to Labour.