Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The Mysteries of the Proposed Budget

I have followed with great interest recent statements from the Coalition Government concerning the proposed revised budget and there are things that remain persistently unclear.

It seems to be received wisdom that everyone must share the collective burden of the budget deficit. Who is precisely “everyone”? Does this mean children, sick people, the elderly, the homeless, those with mental disabilities? I think that it is a fascicle position to assign collective responsibility when it is clear that not everyone can share the burden. Where is our sense of justice if we demand of the most vulnerable within us to carry a disproportionately large share of the collective debt?

The other thing that remains mysterious is the issue of jobs. The public sector is being downsized and people are being made redundant. This appears to be done for ideological reasons as well as under the assumption that efficiency savings can be reaped. Some services will no longer be provided by the public sector on the expectation that the private sector will leap at the opportunity of developing services to fill in the gaps. Will the services provided by private companies be cheaper? Will they offer the same value for money than the publicly provided counterparts? How will they be paid? More importantly, how many jobs does the Coalition Government expect the private sector to furnish per region within the UK?

Amidst all of this uncertainty, I am certain of one thing; jobless people do not pay taxes, they consume them through social benefits. I am not questioning the need for dealing with the deficit; I am however, deeply uncomfortable that pressure from the financial sector should dictate the speed and the depth of the cuts.

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