"The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it"
Aneurin Bevan

Friday, 5 February 2010

A New Economic Model: Part 3

A New Economic Model: Eight Benchmarks for Britain.

This is my analysis of George Osborne's economic policy should the Conservatives win the next election.

2 Create a more balanced economy

What is a "balanced economy"? Get a group of economists together and each one will give you a different recipe for what they think is balanced. So we have to accept that "more balanced" here means according to Osborne and his privatising cronies.

The details:

"We will create the conditions for higher exports, business investment and saving as a share of GDP."

The Tories are somewhat obsessed by the low level of savings and the high levels of personal debt. The problem is that if you want a growing retail economy people have to spend money. And when people spend money, and fill their homes with consumer goods, they are happy. Retail therapy is the nation's number one pastime and Parsimony George and Austerity Dave want to remove that pastime from us. Not much of a vote winner, eh?

"We will make Britain Europe's leading hi-tech exporter with the help of Sir James Dyson's taskforce."

What? Do you mean the same Sir James who exported the manufacturing of his vacuum cleaners to Malaysia? The same Sir James who axed a third of the jobs at his R&D plant at Malmesbury? Sir James is hardly the person to be advising anyone about manufacturing in the UK (although, the Malaysia government may want to access his considerable skill at increasing their manufacturing). Bad choice George.

"We will restore our savings culture and encourage people to save more for retirement. We will work with employers and industry to support auto-enrolment into pensions for those on middle and lower incomes."

So after the Thatcher reforms that de-regulated pensions, allowed asset strippers to walk off with pension schemes, and removed company pensions from most people, now Osborne wants to force us to contribute to the third-rate pensions that his friends in the pension companies want us to have. The one lesson that we learned from the pension miss-selling scandal of the 80s was that the only people who gain from selling private pensions are the pension companies, but at least then we had the option to say No! Osborne wants to take that option from us.

"We will raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million"

They really cannot get away from their obsession with inheritance tax, can they?

The verdict:

Again, there are no lines in the sand, there are no figures, no dates and no penalties: so how can this be a benchmark?

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