Kwasi Kwarteng was appointed to chancellor of the exchequer early in September and the delivery of his mini budget was our first flavour of what is to come from this government. It hasn’t started well according to many commentators on Twitter.
Firstly, the markets reacted badly with the pound tanking against the dollar falling to a 37-year low. This was not exactly the outcome one would expect from a mini budget. Imagine how far the pound will fall when Kwarteng delivers his full budget later in the year. It would be interesting What are they teaching at Cambridge and Harvard universities these days?
It was certainly not a great start. No wonder #KamiKwasi budget was quickly trending. The name is likely to stick for his entire tenure of Number 11 at this rate. Author and columnist Ian Dunt was quick to point out that Kwarteng was already in serious trouble, saying “Kwarteng has already started calling commentary on the value of the pound ‘talking down Britain’. A reliable indicator of a politician in serious trouble.”
What was really shocking from this mini budget was the attack on low and middle earners while giving huge tax cuts to the richest. Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, pointed out that this budget will only grow inequality in the UK, already one of the worst in the world:
“This morning Kwasi Kwarteng announced:
– Benefit cuts for part-time workers
– More attacks on trade union rights
– Tax cuts for the top 1%
– Lowest corporation tax in the G20
– Uncapped bonuses for bankers
The only thing this #BankersBudget will grow is inequality.”
We are facing our generation’s own ‘winter of discontent’. So far, Truss has given over £100bn to energy companies that our children will be paying back for the rest of their lives, but yesterday’s announcement was something else entirely. It was well summed up by Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.
Sickening attack on the working classes
It really is the most sickening and blatant attack on the working classes, whilst rewarding the richest and those who fund the Conservative Party.
We know this government appears not to care for those on lower incomes, but to give tax cuts to the richest 5% when many will be choosing between heating and eating this winter, takes the hard-right tactics to a whole new level. Those in Truss’s government will surely pay a heavy price at the next election for their greed at our expense. Pippa Crerar, political editor at the Guardian, reported on analysis by the Resolution Foundation that said “Almost half (45%) of gains from personal tax cuts will go to richest 5% alone, who’ll be £8,560 better off. In contrast, just 12% will go to poorest half of households, who’ll be average £230 better off next year.”
But what this government does not understand is that not all middle and high earners support this concerted tack to the right. As a country we worked hard to build up our institutions and our welfare state. In particular, the public does not wish to see this government further dismantle what was once the pride of the nation – the NHS. Remember the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic? How far we have fallen since then.
A country united, a party divided
What is quite remarkable about Truss’s brief time in Number 10 is her ability to unite the country against her government and indeed split her party so quickly. Having already had the likes of Mark Menzies, Conservative MP for Fylde, attacking Jacob Rees-Mogg’s fracking plans this week, just a day later, Crerar tweeted that one Tory MP had told her “I have never known the party so divided so soon after a leadership election”. Surely Truss is already toast.
Looking on the bright side, at this rate, there is no way this government will win the next general election. People have seen through the fact that they only wish to enrich themselves and those around them. The red wall is surely going to see that this government stands firmly against them and indeed against the rest of us – the 95% of the country who did not benefit from the KamiKwasi budget.