Tomorrow is the autumn statement. It is the first economic intervention by the new chancellor since Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. But this is not the statement of a new government. This is the sixth year of this Tory government. What is unclear is if it is George Osborne’s apprentice or outrider that will be delivering the statement in the House of Commons at 12.30pm. There is little now that Philip Hammond can blame on the last Labour government. What he inherits is from Osborne, not Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling.
The sad reality is Britain goes into Brexit in a less than perfect state. The shock still to come to the economy means the fiscal framework will not be met pre, during nor post Article 50 being concluded. Britain’s ability to weather the storm to come is not what it should be. It might not all be of the Tories making, but they have hardly left us in the best place to go it alone. (more…)
‘Now it’s open war’, screamed the Daily Mail headline on 18 June 2015. Not, this time, a comment on the Labour leadership race that was then getting into full swing, but the contest to come on the Treasury benches. The future race to be leader of the Conservative party, a vacancy David Cameron himself pre-announced in his kitchen interview with the BBC’s James Landale earlier this year, might have slipped from the public eye temporarily, but the unrest that characterised the Conservative parliamentary party in the last parliament has not gone away.
In this new pamphlet, a leading cast of Labour commentators examine the names in the Tory frame and assess their chances.
On Wednesday this week, the chancellor George Osborne used the first majority Conservative budget to implement much of the Tories’ manifesto for Britain – and no small part of the Labour one. Labour members of parliament were open-mouthed at the spectacle of a Tory chancellor shaking up ‘non dom’ status. They were in outright shock at his creation of a new minimum wage rate for the over-25s and the audacity of calling it a ‘living wage’.
Many were left simply depressed. As Labour looked on and made its protests about the detail, Tory MP after Tory MP took to the airwaves to repeat the same lines over and over. They were so effective that I can already repeat it verbatim: ‘Moving from a low pay, high tax, high welfare society to a high wage, low tax, low welfare one’. As the comment rolled on there was one statement that never got muttered by Tories of any wing, stripe or faction of the party: ‘that Osborne is just Labour-lite’. (more…)