Osborne keeps piling up the debt

August 28, 2015

The House of Commons Library has just produced a briefing note, “Government borrowing, debt and debt interest: historical statistics and forecasts”. It shows historical statistics for

  • Public sector net borrowing (PSNB) – current account borrowing;

  • Public sector net debt (PSND) – government debt overall;

  • Debt interest payments – annual.

The Table (extracts of which are shown below) shows the amount in billions of pounds and as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Examine the figures and you can see the extent of Osborne’s big lie about the crash being the result of Labour’s profligacy in public spending. In fact Osborne announced in September 2007 that the Tories would match Labour’s public spending projections for the next three years. He said:

The result of adopting these spending totals is that under the Conservative government there will be real increases in spending on public services, year after year. The charge from our opponents that we will cut services becomes transparently false.” (Read on below or download a PDF here osbornesdebt) Read the rest of this entry »


Tory war of attrition against Council housing

August 11, 2015

Just before the general election the Tories announced that they were going to extend ‘right to buy’ to Housing Associations and to force Councils to sell off so-called ‘high value’ Council homes to fund it. Not only will this mean that Councils will lose scarce housing stock but it will undermine the finances of Council housing for reasons we will explain below. Only 6,600 Council homes were built in the five years of the coalition government. More than double that number were demolished: 13,530 in the first four years of the coalition (we don’t have a figure for the last year yet). The coalition introduced an ‘enhanced right to buy’ scheme with higher discounts which increased sales significantly (see Appendix). Over the first four years of the coalition government Council housing stock shrank by 104,000 in England alone.  {Read on below or download a PDF here attrition } Read the rest of this entry »


Ending right to buy “full stop”

August 8, 2015

Tackling the Housing Crisis, produced for Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership stands in stark contrast to New Labour’s housing policy. The document recognises the need for a large scale council house building programme to tackle the crisis. It’s a welcome contribution which would have been unthinkable coming from a Leader, or potential leader, of the Labour Party prior to Jeremy’s nomination. I’ll comment on the document in due course, but here’s just one important point of difference with it.

Tackling the Housing Crisisis disappointing in one important respect: its failure to call for an end to ‘right to buy’. It says that “we should be reducing the harm it causes to our affordable housing stock”. To that end it proposes giving local authorities “in areas of high housing stress” the power to suspend right to buy “in order to protect depleting social housing assets”. It also says that the discount could be reduced. Read the rest of this entry »


Stop the election, the ‘wrong’ candidate may win!

July 28, 2015

Democracy is all well and good but when the ‘wrong’ person is in danger of winning you have to draw the line somewhere. That staunch democrat, Labour MP John Mann has called on Harriet Harman to ‘halt the contest’. The election is apparently “out of the control” and at risk of being distorted by “infiltrators”. Utilising the eminently democratic institution and friend of Labour, the Sunday Times, Mr Mann said that Harman should step in as “speculation grows” that 140,000 people may have joined the Party since the General Election, just so they could vote for Corbyn. Obviously such an influx of members are for nefarious purposes. How can Labour be so popular after losing the general election? No wonder Mr Mann can smell a rat. In fact NEC member Anne Black has told us that at its July 21st meeting it was reported that since the general election 55,000 people had joined and one third of those were under 30, typically, she said, many were 18 or so. (Download a PDF here corbynarticle or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


Owen Jones: holder of the Blairite flame?

July 24, 2015

Reading Owen Jones piece in yesterday’s Guardian I had to check again whether it had really been written by him. The article castigates the Blairites in the Labour Party over their abstention on the welfare bill parliamentary vote. He complains that they failed to defend New labour’s ‘legacy’. The sub-heading of the piece reads:

The Blairites and Brownites are in perverse denial of their good record on poverty and the public services.”

Astonishingly Owen says that “It’s people like me who are the holders of the Blairite flame…”. The “greatest defenders of this (New Labour) legacy are the left”. (Download a PDF here owenjones or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


“Cash strapped Councils struggle to cope as Osborne’s austerity cuts bite”

July 23, 2015

Research by the Financial Times shows the extent to which local authorities are struggling to cope with the cuts in funding associated with the coalition government’s ‘austerity’ measures. The FT reported that vital services to 150,000 pensioners have been withdrawn whilst child protection spending has been cut by 8% since 2010. The FT says that local authority services are “creaking” under the weight of growing demand at the same time as their resources are being cut. Council budgets have been cut by £18 billion ‘in real terms’ (i.e. taking inflation into account) since 2010. The next round of cuts will mean at least the loss of another £9.5 billion by the end of the decade. (Download a PDF here impactofausterity or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


Tory ballot-rigging threatens democratic right to strike

June 16, 2015

“Today’s Queen’s Speech is a speech for working people, from a One Nation government that will bring our country together.” David Cameron

The government’s ‘reform’ of trade union law constitutes an anti-democratic ballot rigging proposal designed to undermine the potential power of trades unions and to strengthen the power of employers over their workers.

One of the government’s key Bills in the New Parliament is the Trades Unions Bill. The declared purpose of the Bill, according to Minister Sajid Javid, is to “ensure hard-working people are not disrupted by little supported strike action”. The legislation is said to seek to ensure that strikes were the result of “clear, positive and recent decisions by union members” giving strikes a “democratic mandate”, “minimising disruption for hard working tax payers”. The centre-piece of the legislation will be amendment of the balloting regulations, but there are other proposals included which show that the purpose of the Bill has nothing to do with a democratic mandate but is designed to weaken trades unions and give more powers to the employers. (Download a PDF here balloting  or read on below)  Read the rest of this entry »


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