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View from the House: More cuts, more attacks on workers

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 December 2017

Archant

Last week’s Budget was one of the grimmest in years, if not decades.

The national debt is now nudging 90 per cent of GDP with little sign of it coming down for a very long time while productivity has slumped.

The latter is surely connected to the public sector pay freeze; I know people who live in Leyton and Wanstead who have lost as much as 20pc of the value of their wages in real terms in the past seven years.

Falling pay and pensions losing value are bad for workplace morale, and as a result productivity has taken a nosedive.

Meanwhile, the NHS is on its knees. Whipps Cross Hospital was running at 100pc bed occupancy for most of last winter, which is now not unusual in London.

We are entering another winter which could be even worse than the last one. Large numbers of GPs are getting near to retirement age, with little sign of their replacements on the horizon.

Wanstead has lost its police station, which in my view makes it more difficult to respond to crime (getting from Ilford to Wanstead is never particularly easy even with a blue light).

The chancellor’s cut in stamp duty is likely to raise demand for housing without addressing the supply.

More cuts, more attacks on working people, the young, the disabled and the vulnerable are not the answer. A good start in the opposite direction would be an urgent cash injection for the NHS and a major public-sector house building programme.

And that really would be just a start.

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