I’m somewhat shocked to feel this way given the source, but I don’t hate all the policies from the Conservative’s autumn statement announced yesterday. At least not in the short term.
It’s amazing how much changes within a few weeks. Whilst some of the policies under the Truss administration weren’t nearly as tax-cutting as it seemed on the surface, they were extremely regressive. Just last month we were hearing that the top rate of income tax was going to be entirely abolished - free money for the rich! And now under the Sunak administration it’s actually going to be applied to more people; anyone with an income of over around £125k as opposed to the current £150k.
Benefits are going up inline with inflation, we’re seeing an increase in capital gains tax and a fiscal drag on inheritance tax. And a windfall tax on the incredible profits of energy producers. All very un-Conservative-stereotype.
Overall it’s still grim news in the economy - basically everyone is going to be worse off in the near feature. Living standards are set to fall by an unprecedented 7%. Plenty of this is due to the abject mismanagement of the economy by the Conservative party in recent times. Unemployment, inflation and energy bills are all set to rise. If you’re already struggling that’s obviously a much huger burden than if you’re doing well enough right now.
The statement’s policies are not nearly enough to make life particularly bearable for anyone already in or near crisis. But, I guess, credit where credit’s due - the tax changes announced yesterday are actually somewhat progressive.
Here’s a reproduction of the impact calculated by the Resolution Foundation provided by the Guardian.
Where the statement is rather more disingenuous is with regards to cuts in public funding. Cuts to public services tend to impact the poorest in society more than the rich. Cuts are certainly in the statement, and they’re big (and dangerous). But the bulk of them are scheduled not to hit until 2024-2025. Of course by then there’s a good chance we’ll have had a general election. A cynic might suggest it’s a cursed gift from a party that doesn’t really believe it’ll be in power at that point.