The story of how the Conservatives crippled the country

From austerity, to Brexit, to economic collapse. That is the story of how the Conservatives have crippled the country over consecutive parliamentary terms and now the details have been exposed in full in a damning new study.

According to a comprehensive research paper by University of Warwick economics professor Thiemo Fetzer Tory austerity and welfare cuts directly caused Brexit.

The study concluded that if austerity had not happened, the Leave vote in 2016 would have been 9.51 percentage points lower and “could have swung the referendum in favour of Remain”.

Leave beat Remain in the referendum by just 3.8 per cent.

Talking to the HuffPost Fetzer said that the withdrawal of welfare in poor areas allowed the Vote Leave campaign to “exploit” underlying worries about EU immigration and claims that billions were being spent on Brussels rather than at home in Britain.

In his report, he writes that his study “shows that the rise of popular support for the UK Independence Party (Ukip), as the single most important correlate of the subsequent Leave vote in the 2016 European Union referendum, along with broader measures of political dissatisfaction, are strongly and causally associated with an individual’s or an area’s exposure to austerity since 2010”.

“The results suggest that the EU referendum could have resulted in a Remain victory had it not been for a range of austerity-induced welfare reforms,” he adds.

“These reforms activated existing economic grievances. Further, auxiliary results suggest that the underlying economic grievances have broader origins than what the current literature on Brexit suggests.

“Up until 2010, the UK’s welfare state evened out growing income differences across the skill divide through transfer payments. This pattern markedly stops from 2010 onwards as austerity started to bite.”

Spending on healthcare “flatlined” under the Tory-led coalition and spending on education contracted by 19 per cent in real terms. The aggregate real government spending on welfare and social protection decreased by around 16 per cent per person, but that was more pronounced in poorer areas, where spending on individuals fell by as much as 46.3 per cent.

According to the study Ukip support started to grow in exactly those areas.

David Lammy MP

Labour MP David Lammy, a supporter of the Best for Britain pro-EU campaign, told HuffPost: “This report coming out of Warwick University perfectly captures the social and economic climate which led to the Brexit vote.

“It’s only natural that people up and down the country were angry and desperate for change after six years of job losses and cuts to vital public services. Voters felt they’d been squeezed for too long and were led to believe leaving the EU was the change they so desperately needed.

“But that wasn’t the case then, and isn’t the case now. Leaving the EU won’t solve the problems caused by chronic underinvestment and slashed government expenditure – it’ll make them worse.”

Brexit impact analysis conducted by the House of Commons Exiting the European Union Committee revealed that there will be no part of the UK that won’t be left economically worse after the split.

Indeed, parts of the UK that voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum will suffer the most as a result of Brexit, with the north-east and the West Midlands taking the biggest hit to growth, while London, which voted heavily for Remain, left the least affected.

From austerity, to Brexit, to economic collapse, the figures make for a miserable ending to the story of how the Conservatives crippled the country.

19 Responses

  1. Mervyn Hyde

    The same problems we face here are happening in Europe for the self same reasons, Fascism is on the rise in Europe, Economic protest riots on the streets of Paris against Macrons Neo-Liberal austerity.

    You can sum the whole sorry affair up by noting that Neo-Liberal politicians of every persuasion ignore the plight of ordinary people in pursuit of their avowed agenda supported by a complicit mass media.

    People can and must take back our democracy, by getting rid of all Neo-Liberal politicians and to understand that it doesn’t have to be like this, the golden years following post war governments prove that point.

    1. Removing everyone you disagree with isn’t “taking back democracy”, it’s literally the opposite of that. Post war was also a very different economic situation, not comparable to today. You had a labour shortage and massive population growth coupled with technical developments and globalisation.

      It doesn’t necessarily follow that applying the same model to a completely different situation will magically produce the same result.

      Are developed economies just in decline due to having to compete with labour from the BRIC countries? A massive increase in labour will result in average wages dropping surely. This is potentially offset by the increase in productivity of these countries, as lower wages don’t really matter if purchasing power increases to compensate for that.

      1. Mervyn Hyde

        It is not a just a disagreement, we are talking politicians that created the world wide crash and then unnecessarily forced us to carry the burden caused by the bankers.

        Of course the post war government is relevant,they suffered a far greater problem than we faced after the crash, the country suffered war damage, they had to find jobs for all the servicemen returning from war, they set up the welfare state, created the NHS and nationalised the utilities among other things. with a debt to GDP ratio of 240%, after the financial crash our national debt was around 40% of GDP. that has since increased to around 83% today due to Neo-Liberal political mismanagement.

        Our economy is continually declining because this same Neo-Liberal regime has decimated our manufacturing base, I don’t know about you, but I well remember those bulldozers tearing down factories and Thatcher saying “if it isn’t hurting it isn’t working”.

        It worked wonders for those survivors and their profits, but the population at large are having to make do with food-banks.

        I could show you the decimation locally where factories once stood are now warehouses, housing estates, shops, that is directly attributed to the kind of fantasy economics pursued by these people for over forty years now, and you believe it doesn’t matter, that we should just carry on as we are.

        I do beg to differ, the sooner they are gone the sooner we can start to rebuild our economy.

  2. If 30-odd Labour MPs hadn’t had the brilliant idea of nominating Corbyn, who subsequently got elected by popularism, Labour would have firmly backed Remain in the referendum campaign and we wouldn’t be in this Brexit mess now. It wasn’t just the Tories.

    1. Bella

      Might have known there’d be some vegetable Daily Heil reader pointing the finger at Corbyn instead of not reading the above article….

    2. Paul Mackilligin

      Yes, and the bright idea of inviting anyone to join the Labour Party for £2, so that they could take part in the leadership election. That was crazy. But all that came much later, and wasn’t significantly involved in the Austerity–>Brexit–>Fascism causal chain, which has been underpinned by the neoliberal ideology that was the only ideology still standing after the Cold War.

    3. Isabel Cooke

      I think you mean ‘elected by democracy’, not ‘popularism’. Extraordinary how some people blame Labour for something that happened when they weren’t in power.

  3. Bill Rollinson

    David Lammy forgets, it was proven we don’t need Austerity, as the 5th largest economy, we could afford our own up-keep, but we’ve been spending in other fields. Instead of spending on Health and Road repairs, Housing, we’ve thrown billions at Foreign Aid, spent a small fortune on bombs and ammunition against nations we aren’t even at war with?
    Since 2010 – 2015, Tories have borrowed TWICE as much as Labour did in 13 years? £900bn+ Plus all the money saved from Austerity, where has it gone, certainly not for house building! Our NHS is being battered, as are Education, Roads, Jobs and Housing, by mass immigration, of which a large number are unskilled and unlikely to work, Welfare Scroungers.
    We need to get out, because the only way to create jobs, which are currently all owned by Corporations, is nationalised industry. We need to change Banking rules, bring in more restrictions, break up commercial & domestic banking and stop them creating money from fresh air. Bring in some form of Government lending, to SME’s that are currently overlooked by banks. Creating an Equal opportunity for both Corporations and SME’s, instead of Corporations dictating all.

    1. Graham

      I agree with almost all of what you say here. Austerity was unnecesary, the Tories borrowed far more than Labour and used it to fund tax cuts for the already-wealthy without admitting or realising that the tickle-down effect is a myth. I also agree we need to have more nationalised industry, especially where there is no natural market, such as water, energy, the railways etc. Banks also need to be reined in and separated into investment and ‘high-street’ banking. Government lending, perhaps in the form of a National Lending Bank, would enable SMEs and entrepreneurs to invest and create wealth in areas where there are natural markets. But, we can do all this while still in the EU. Being in the EU hasn’t stopped France or Germany having huge national, or state owned industries. Many of them seem to be running OUR industries as private companies, (energy, water, rail). So leaving the EU will not solve this at all. The reason we have not done it is down to domestic politics, not EU restrictions, and when we leave, the hard-line leavers want to use the opportunity afforded by the removal or EU protections for workers to create even more hard-line ‘sweat-shop’ environments to make us ‘more competitive’ as we desperately seek new deals to replace the ones we will lose on leaving the EU.

    2. Bill

      The Tories much prefer to spend many billions of pounds on their new train set (no good asking Phillip Hammond about the full cost as his sums are worse than Dianne Abbott’s) which is destined to get business passengers travelling between London and Birmingham up to 20 minutes faster, that’s providing they get the right kind of snow in winter and no autumn leaves on the lines. And of course the rest of the rail network and the other general public services can just “go fiddle”; priorities must come first.

      1. Nick

        between London and Birmingham up to 20 minutes faster, Apparently, even this won’t happen as to cut costs, tunnels cannot be built to accommodate the speeds at which the trains would have to reach to achieve this target.

  4. Mike Hall

    Jack Peat, it’s even worse than you describe here. ‘Austerity’ was never needed at all, as the UK is *issuer* of UK£s, free gratis, with all that implies, *providing* there is available, idle productive capacity, or real resources to buy or hire in UK£s.

    By definition then, cutting spending of real stuff that was already being supplied, without excess inflation, in order to ‘save’ something Gov issues at will, out of nothing, is a fraud, and simply gratuitous economic vandalism. Conducted to suppress the interests of the labour class, in the interests of the capital owner (elites) class.

    Citizens need to #LearnMMT – Modern Monetary Theory – to get the correct description of the UK monetary system, as it exists right now, and the important things that means for Gov’s true capacity to conduct economic policy in the public purpose.

  5. Devon

    General Pinochet would have known what to do with Jack Peat!

    (Free helicopter rides for life… a quick push out over the sea…)

  6. les blakey

    one can blame a lot of things ,these Tories misunderstand the people and always have simply because they choose not to do so. they always run the country like a game of monopoly and do not consider anything outside of money. tipping a man out of a wheelchair and saying he is fit for work thus saving an amount of money does not repair the health of the people. someone has to put him back in the wheelchair whilst ian D smith thumps the air in parliament. the country is poor in the mind, the country is poor in services, the country is poor for 95% of the people. however no one listens to the people , they still ring fence overseas aid even when the people want it stopped. they insist on pushing to stay in the EU even when we voted to leave. What is the alternative Labour . they think they can do better how why when . I tell you never. Labour feel they have the backing of the people , no they dont , not even in traditional labour heartlands. This country will not get well again until Parliament does what it should do and that is the will of the people.

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