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Responses from Occupy London supporters to Osborne’s #AutumnStatement

 

Below are a variety of the responses coming in from Occupy London supporters to the Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Budget Statement.

Occupy London’s Economics Working Group: Minor restructuring of deckchairs on the Titanic – in favour of 1st class passengers

As usual the predicted onset of ‘recovery’ is kicked further down the road, bolstered by the perennially inaccurate predictions of the Office for Budget Responsibility, while the economy goes on shrinking.

National Debt predictions go up by £30 billion despite the expected windfall from selling 4G bandwidth. The additional £3.5 billion cut in benefits is set to further reduce real demand – the ultimate cause of the recession while the balance is sterilised within the 1% with effective tax cuts of over £100,000 each for millionaires – among a variety of sweeteners. Much of this money will continue to flow into tax havens and be held as paper assets which create nothing accelerate economic decline and ultimately raise debts (owed largely to the same sections of the 1%).

The posturing on tax avoidance and evasion is unconvincing given the governments’ sustained diplomacy of dilution of international efforts to address this. A few small fry will be affected but the tax havens serving the deca-millionaires and large corporations – run by the banks and corrupt accountancy companies will remain, hollowing out national autonomy while large parts of the City of London act as fences. Political donations from City corporations will continue to capture fiscal policy and the agenda of shifting power from the people to plutocrats.

Until the rich who created this crisis pay back the misery for ordinary people will continue.

 

Claire Morris of Occupy Energy, Equity and Environment: Statement unleashes Osborne’s Gas Generation Strategy

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement proposes to lock us into a dash for gas, driving higher bills, an energy security nightmare and breaking binding emissions targets under the 2008 Climate Act.

BILLS – Over the last decade, the greatest contributor to rising household energy bills has been the rapid escalation of wholesale gas prices, which has caused a £290 increase to the average UK dual-fuel bill in only six years. In comparison, just £30 has been added over the six years for renewable energy support.

BLACKOUTS? – Uncertainty in the gas market price and pricing system is highly concerning for a country that intends to rely so heavily on gas. The three main players for the European gas market are Norway, Russia and Qatar, all with their own political and economic agendas. Even if there is enough gas coming from overseas to sate a gas-hungry energy policy in 2030 (which seems unlikely given the sudden pressure to “frack” the British countryside), and even if the European market remains politically stable (also unlikely in light of the current crisis), then the price of this gas is going to become increasingly unaffordable.

CLIMATE – The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) urges a dash away from carbon, with significantly increased incentives for low carbon solutions, not yet more tax breaks for fossil fuels on top of the £4bn already granted.

Unless carbon capture and storage takes miraculous leaps forward in the next decade (which is not looking likely), then, by UK law as stated in the 2008 Climate Act, we can only install 20 – not 40! – new gas plants before 2030 and these plants can only be allowed to generate 15% of the time. This would be an extremely unwelcome state of affairs economically for gas investors, which explains why Osborne is fighting tooth and nail to change the law for a higher 4th Carbon Budget.

The one-off cost of investing in energy storage and energy-saving would prove to be significantly less than the long-term fuel costs to keep our gas legacy running; and backing offshore wind in preference to gas would create 70,000 more jobs and generate £20bn more GDP by 2030. Renewables, even with their variability and energy storage challenges, by definition do not continue to demand the cost of the planet’s resources.

 

Tom Moriarty of Occupy London’s Economics Working Group said:

Lowlights from me as follows:

The OBR forecasts show further contraction in last quarter and 2013 confirming the damaging effect of austerity which is delaying recovery.

OBR forecasts beyond 2013 are finger in the air stuff, seriously, think it’s a bit of a joke at the OBR.

Borrowing revised using different calculations, so fudging the numbers to suit political gain.

Debt target missed.

“Fiscal consolidation” = austerity being extended until 2017/18, essentially marking the banker created UK lost decade.

Corporation tax is going to come down, just to add to those that don’t pay it at all.

benefits will continue to fall against inflation with a 1% increase amounting to a 2% decrease in real terms, the poor getting poorer and colder.

Fuel and energy, 3p fuel duty cancelled but just as well otherwise there would have been riots.

Consultation on shale gas, environment goes out the window.

£5bn in infrastructure to build roads and £1bn in education which is token in the face of higher education funding.

Essentially it is everything you would expect from a Chancellor who doesn’t care if he lies, doesn’t care how much pain he causes and knows that in 10 years time there is no way of proving that his way had a more detrimental effect of society than a more progressive approach.  It is the Autumn statement of someone who says “well I got a jolly good hiding at school and I’m the better for it!”  Naive, sly and self important and desperately sad for generations to come.

 

Clive Menzies, Occupy London’s Economic Working Group, said:

Complacent and not a credible response to the ongoing crisis.

The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been consistently optimistic on its growth forecasts.GDP is forecast to decline in the year 2012/13 but the Chancellor claims that National Debt will decline from 2017/18. The growth numbers will be revised down while the debt continues to  rise.

The figures are flattered by £3.5bn received in respect of the 4G spectrum auction (which has yet  to occur) but in spite of this, the PO pension fund transfer to the public sector, the QE  interest windfall and the bailout of Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley, none of the targets are likely to be met.

Austerity continues for the majority and those least well off will be hardest hit yet again. There will be a bonanza for businesses and investors – capital allowances, tax cuts and subsidies. The  defence budget is protected to ensure the UK continues its aggressive  foreign policy in support of the US. We can rest assured that banking interests will have their noses in the trough of infrastructure spending  on roads, rail, schools etc. with PFI/PPP Mark2.

Collective bargaining for teachers is under threat as state education  continues to be undermined by free schools and academies receiving  disproportionate advantage in terms of resources and the ability to  select pupils (a socially divisive strategy which began under New Labour).

The major beneficiaries of this budget are the usual suspects at the top of society including landowners (business rate reductions benefit  landlords rather than small businesses), major corporations and the highest paid. Inflation is consistently understated and the combination  of cuts and limited increases for those most in need will leave the  poorest as victims of yet another unimaginative budget which does  nothing to address the fundamental problems in our economy and society.

 

 

 
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