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Austerity’s end days?

Public support for austerity has collapsed
Ryan Fletcher, Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Public support for austerity has collapsed, according to a new survey which found that Britons are overwhelmingly in favour of increasing health, education and policing budgets.


The survey was released just days before a major anti-austerity march takes place in London.


Eight in 10 people asked during the annual survey on British social attitudes said the NHS should be given more cash while 70 per cent favour more money for schools and 60 per cent want increased police spending.


The survey – consisting of 2,942 interviews made up from a random representative sample of British adults – also found that 48 per cent of people think the government should tax and spend more, the largest proportion since 2004.


Another 44 per cent of people think taxation and spending levels should stay the same, while just 4 per cent believe they should be cut, according to the study carried out by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).


NatCen head of public attitudes, Roger Harding, said, “People’s tolerance for austerity is drying up, even if that means higher taxes… In all, people want a more active state that’s firm but fairer.”


Spending famine

The report described the last seven years of Tory government as a “relative famine” for public spending.


It stated, “It appears that gradually the public are beginning to react against that experience as reflected in declining support for cutting expenditure as a way of helping the economy and some increase in support for spending on public services.”


Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said it was hardly a surprise that people are “sick and tired of austerity when the effects are everywhere you turn”.


“Our health service is on the brink, schools are underfunded and overcrowded, emergency services are slashed to the bone, local authorities have been squeezed to breaking point, social care has practically collapsed – it goes on and on,” said Turner.


“When someone can’t get a doctor’s appointment or has been told by a 999 operator there’s no police in the area or simply can’t visit the library or get the council to collect some rubbish, there’s a reason and more often than not it’s linked to austerity.”


‘Fed up’

Turner said the general election was another clear message that people are “fed up with the Tories’ slash and burn policies”. He added, “They pretend (their policies) are about reducing the deficit when they are really the logical conclusion of a political ideology that leads to replacing essential parts of the state with the free market.


“Enough is enough – ordinary people do not want to continue being subjected to an inhumane political experiment that only benefits those at the top.”


Head of Unite Community Liane Groves urged members to attend Saturday’s march against public service cuts.


“We need to make sure the full force of the opposition to the Tories’ policies is felt. Theresa May knows how tenuous her grasp of power is and that she has no mandate to continue with the destructive campaign of austerity that has racked our public services and hobbled our economy for the last seven years,” Groves said.


“Already leading Tories are suggesting the government may have to ease spending cuts due to the size of the opposition. By marching in huge numbers on July 1 we can help force concessions on the NHS, education, housing and jobs.


“Nor will the Tories’ alliance with the DUP last long, so it is essential our call for a decent health service, education system, housing, jobs and living standards for all, is heard loud and clear,” she added.


The #ToriesOut demo begins at 12 noon this Saturday at BBC Broadcasting House in Central London and finishes at Parliament Square.


For more details click here.



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