Tories have run up debt in spite of austerity cuts while the rich have doubled their wealth

The Conservatives have been labelled con artists after running up mountains of debt in spite of austerity cuts at the same time as the rich significantly increase their wealth.

Since the recession Britain’s wealthiest have seen their net worth more than double while poverty has gripped the nation elsewhere.

Food bank use has reached the highest rate on record as austerity-induced benefit cuts fail to cover basic costs. According to Shelter the number of ‘homeless but working’ families has risen by 73 per cent , with the poorest 30 per cent of UK households worse off by £50 to £150 last year.

When George Osborne and David Cameron came to power in 2010 they claimed austerity would save the country from disaster. They said its predecessor Labour government was living “beyond its means” and left the nation with a rising mountain of public debt.

But eight years on and public sector net debt, adjusted for inflation, has risen by 53 per cent under consecutive Tory governments. What’s more, the government has recovered all but five per cent of the £1.2 trillion bailout provided to the banks during the credit crunch and recession according to the latest figures – but they continue to impose crippling austerity cuts regardless.

As author Marcus Chown wrote on Twitter, “the Tories said austerity was to pay down UK debt. It’s almost tripled. They said we’re all in this together. The rich have doubled wealth.

“Do you think we’ve been conned?”

Austerity in numbers 

  • 1,332,952 three-day emergency food supplies were delivered to people in crisis in past year, according to Trussell Trust
  • Around 120,000 excess deaths since 2010 due to austerity cuts to the NHS, according to the British Medical Journal
  • More than 300,000 homeless people – equivalent to one in every 200, according to Shelter
  • Teaching profession sees average pay fall by £3 an hour in real terms and police officers by £2 an hour, according to the Office of Manpower Economics
  • Rise in prostitution, knife crime and mental health issues all linked to government cuts.

UK wealth in numbers 

  • The richest 10 per cent of households in Britain hold 45 per cent of all wealth. The poorest 50 per cent, by contrast, own just 8.7 per cent, according to ONS data
  • Richest 1,000 families control total of £547 billion, rising by more than 112 per cent since 2009, according to the Sunday Times Rich List
  • One in 10 UK adults, or 5.2 million people, own a second home, while four in 10 adults own no property at all, according to the Resolution Foundation
  • The richest 1 per cent in Scotland have more wealth than the bottom 50 per cent put together, according to Oxfam
  • Cutting the top rate of income tax has deprived the Exchequer of more than £8.6 billion over the past five years, according to UNISON

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3 Responses

  1. Simon Cohen

    It should be pointed out that the size of the National Debt is fundamentally not an issue for a sovereign currency issuer where the debt is not denominated in a foreign currency and that country isn’t on a gold standard.

    This makes the austerity argument even more of a con! U.K national debt is given as 90% of GDP and Japan’s is about 250%! Yet Japan has not collapsed. The National Debt represents the financial wealth of the private sector. In fact, given the terrible level of private debt it follows that deficits are not large enough!

    The Government of a sovereign currency cannot run out of money. Alan Greenspan makes the point here:

    And Draghi of the ECB says the same:

    You CAN have too much money but not a lack of it. AT present the Government could pump billions into the economy without any risk of inflation.

  2. Kes

    i’m a life-long lefty and much as it pains me to defend the blues, it doesn’t take an economist to work out that it’s impossible to stop debt increasing while we still have a deficit

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