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Tories to blame for cash cuts - Declan Kearney

9 October, 2014

Last week George Osborne announced further £25 billion of cutbacks in welfare support and unprotected government department spending.

Since taking power in 2010 the Tories have led a concerted attack on public services and the welfare state.  Successive Tory governments from 1979 have been wedded to reduction of public expenditure and services, and attacks on welfare; wholesale privatisation; pro-rich tax reforms; and economic deregulation, particularly in the financial sector.

Deregulation of financial services was a major contributor to the economic and social crisis in 2008.  The Tories, in coalition have exploited the crisis and resulting deficit to drive forward an austerity agenda.  They reject a role for government in maintaining a caring society.

Significantly Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat coalition minister, said on Monday: “The Tories are ideologically obsessed by cuts because they see it as a way of destroying public service and the welfare state, which they detest”.

Tory cut backs are having a disproportionately more negative impact in the north.  Recently DUP, Alliance and UUP politicians have blamed cuts to public services on non implementation of welfare cuts.  They and sections of the media ignore the scale of reduction in our Block Grant since 2010.  It has been slashed by £3.6bn cumulatively in the financial period 2010-2015.  Current and capital Departmental Expenditure respectively is now £730million and £345m less than 2010 in real terms.

It is absolutely wrong to blame the escalating budget crisis hitting Executive departments and public services upon the £87m fine demanded, because Sinn Féin and others oppose welfare cuts.

Welfare cuts and Osborne’s new £25bn cutbacks will be in addition to the existing austerity programme, set to climax in 2015, as outlined above.

Nick Clegg (in contrast to Cable’s remarks), said last weekend that welfare cuts were an economic reality to be faced in the north.  That is to say the working poor and most vulnerable here are financially liable for the deficit caused by the banking crisis.

Our private sector is too small.  The banks are still starving small and medium sized enterprises.

Sixteen years from the Good Friday Agreement the poorest areas remain so.

An entirely new model is needed to rebalance and support the economy in the north.  We are a society emerging from conflict, with a legacy of structural underinvestment, and an all-island economic reality.

Those who have chosen to roll over and accept the British Tory imposed fiscal and economic status quo are avoiding the real strategic, economic, and political decisions and opportunities which need to be grasped in the north.

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